1950s Military/NASA/Space Type Recommendations

NiceTry's picture

I need some type that looks like it is from a 1950s-1960s space program. Not like the Jetsons or boomerang-table-hepcat stuff, but something that might actually appear on the side of a rocket or test-plane in the early supersonic jet propulsion era.

There is one in particular that I saw, but I forgot what it was called. I think the name of it was a near-meaningless, short mix of letters and numbers, and it looked like what you would see painted on the side of a bomber, a bit naïve and engineered-looking, the typographic equivalent to a telephone pole. It had an tall octagonal shape and was quite stark.

I am sure there are others, but I am stumped as display type is not my specialty. Please help if you can. Thanks!

garyw's picture

I shot this image at the Smithsonian.


NiceTry's picture

Gridnik is closer, Mecanorma looks like 'Jock Jams'. That's actually the kind of type I am trying to replace.

@garyw: Thanks for the photo!

John Nolan's picture

The numerals on the photo remind me of Octic Gothic.

Oxide, Dispatch or Pennsylvania might work.

Norbert Florendo's picture

FYI --
one of the earliest official NASA logos looked like this:

We had the chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center this past few days and saw this and more at the exhibits.

Best of all -- we had an AWESOME view of the Discovery Shuttle launch July 4th as friends of the family of one of the astronauts.
Here's one pic we took yesterday --

dezcom's picture

The original 1958 sci-fi looking NASA symbol, referred to as "The Meatball" by insiders, predated the NASA symbol Norbert posted (done by Bruce Blackburn of Danne & Blackburn in 1975). After fall from grace in 1992, the Danne & Blackburn NASA "Worm" logo was banished and the "Meatball" returned. Tacky committee zombies win out over good design one more time.


ndmike's picture

Albeit off topic, but I can't resist... The "worm" logo was also called the "spaghetti" mark. After seeing several shuttle launches from the press center in my earlier journalist days, I have a great affinity for NASA and actually prefer the historical "meatball" logo.

Here's a page from NASA's site about the history of the "meatball" logo (http://history.nasa.gov/meatball.htm), with this priceless quote:

When the meatball was reinstated in 1992, Greg Patt, then Graphics Manager for [the Glenn Research Center's] Publishing Services contractor, remarked "It's a design nightmare. It doesn't print well on laser printers because of the gradations on the airfoil, and it can't be used at less than 5/8 inch because the stars disappear and the type becomes illegible."

Oh, and this one, too:

"Meatball" has also been used for a dull, unattractive person and for a penant for battle efficiency or an athletic scholarship.

I love their honesty on both counts.

More about NASA's logos at their Graphics Standards Website: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/insignia/

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