Ethel Reed, Mee Sung Park

Ethel Reed was born in 1874 in Newburyport Massachusetts. She moved to Boston in the 1890s where she achieved international recognition for her posters. Just within two years, she produced book illustrations, cover designs, and more than 25 posters (Wright 2015) While she was in Newburyport, she was influenced by Laura Coombs Hills, a local artist. Later, in Boston, she also studied at the cowls Art School. Her artworks noticed immediately that there was some resemblance to Aubrey Beardsley’s work during the Art Nouveau (Pedersen 2013). Most of her posters contain a solitary female figure often reading a book, with a billowing gown. The figures seem to be in a meditative mood, but at the same time they are subtly erotic figures (Pedersen 2013). One of her most iconic posters is the Folly or Saintliness in 1895. It features a strong contrast of black and orange with a bold serif title.

Posters have been the fundamental field of graphic design in the past and present world. The textbook starts with Art Nouveau and poster designs. There are many designers and artworks that are mentioned in the book. However, most of them, in fact almost everyone featured in the book is males. It would be nice to mix up the ratio and add variety to the content by introducing more female artists and designers of the past. Although Ethel Reed had a very short career in the field, I think she would be one of many ideal female figures to add to the book. Reed had very little influence, instead, she has boldly invented a method of her own purpose toward poster design. She was raised in a poor family and practically self-taught all techniques and was able to produce such charming posters and gain recognition at such a young age of twenty-one.

Works Cited
Pedersen, Nate. “The Beautiful Poster Lady: An Interview with William S         Peterson about Ethel Reed.” Fine Books & Collections, 2 July 2013,
Wright, Helena E. “Ethel Reed and the Poster Craze.” National Museum of American History, 22 May 2015,


NASA Logo – Mee Sung Park

In 1959, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (Cioban 2019). James Modarelli, the head of Lewis’ Research Reports Division, was asked by the executive secretary of NACA for a logo for NASA (Cioban 2019). The design (see fig.1) is also known as the NASA seal. It depicts a scene of the space in simple circular graphic forms with three primary colors. It has a couple of details that give it a classic look such as the drop shadow on the planets, subtle gradient of the blue background, and even the yellow frame with red serif texts in all caps. It well represents NASA’s identity as a space agency; however, it lacks modernity in the design.NASA seal Modarelli then attempted to simplify the seal, extracting the border as well as the text, only leaving the red orbital path and white stars on a round field of blue resembling the space (see fig.2). The N-A-S-A lettering is inscribed in a bold, white font with serifs and contrastingly thick and thin lines. It resembles the This logo is used to this day and also known as the “meatball” design and NASA’s official insignia (Cioban 2019).NASA "meatball" logoIn 1974, NASA decided they wanted a more modern version of the logo (Dunbar 2018). The complex meatball was stripped down and was reborn with modern type design. Also known as the NASA “worm”, the new logo was designed by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn (Cioban 2019). The stylized logotype is rendered with the letters N-A-S-A. Stroke weights are equal while the horizontal bar is removed from the A, and thus resembling a worm. Richard Danne states that the “meatball” was complicated and hard to reproduce while the logotype was clean, progressive, could be read from a mile away, and was easy to use in all mediums (Breeze 2012). However, the logotype was used for 17 years until 1992 when the official logo was replaced by the classic “meatball” insignia.NASA "worm" logotype

The return of the classic “meatball” logo was just as controversial as the launch of the “worm” logotype. There are still arguments to this day whether the “meatball” or the “worm” logo better represents NASA. In the magazine Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly published articles on the discussion and published a composite logo of the “meatball” and the “worm” into one design naming it the “wormball” (Chambers & Chambers 2015). In response to the article, Modarelli addressed that “it was interesting… since I submitted an almost identical design to NASA Headquarters shortly after the NASA “worm” logo was adopted in 1975. Naturally, it was tuned down…” (Chambers & Chambers 2015). However, NASA never adopted as their official logo.Quest magazine, the "wormball"


Works Cited:

Breeze, Mez. “The Stories Behind Four World-Famous Logos.” The Next Web, 8 Sept. 2012,
Chambers, Joseph R., and Mark A. Chambers. Emblems of Exploration: Logos of the NACA and NASA. NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015.
Cioban, Dorian. “A Deeper Look at NASA Logo Through Its Rich History.” Brandingmag, Brandingmag | Narrating the Discussion, 8 May 2019,
Dunbar, Brian. “Symbols of NASA.” NASA, NASA, 27 July 2018,