The History of a Historic Logo

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Standards Manual is an independent New York City publishing shop founded by Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, two designers whose goal is to preserve and share design history that might otherwise be lost. Their shop has reissued the graphics standard manual for the 1976 American Bicentennial symbol.

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The design was created by Bruce Blackburn of Chermayeff & Geismar Associates (the designer also later created NASA’s iconic logo). He recounts how he designed the extremely high profile 200th anniversary mark in the new book’s introduction. From a article, “[he] describes his design process, which started with a five-pointed star whose points were wrapped by lines of red and blue to soften the militaristic elements of the symbol. Initially, the logo’s words ran underneath the star logo, but Nixon (who was still president at the time) didn’t believe it looked governmental enough, and so demanded that the words encircle the star, turning into more of a seal.”


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For more information on this design, as well as standards manuals for NASA and the New York Transit Authority, see here. To visit Standards Manual’s website, simply click here.

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