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NASA releases entire 1970s Graphics Standard Manual online for free

NASA releases entire 1970s Graphics Standard Manual online for free

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The move may be in response to a recently launched Kickstarter campaign

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NASA may have just thrown some serious shade at the creators of a newly launched Kickstarter campaign. Last week, New York-based graphic designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth started a Kickstarter aimed at reissuing the 1975 NASA Graphics Standard Manual. The manual is famous for introducing NASA's "Worm" logo, as well as outlining how the logo should be placed on various NASA materials. Fast forward a week later, and the space agency has just released the entirety of the Graphics Standard Manual online — downloadable in PDF form on its website.

No formal announcement or press release accompanied the download, so it's not clear what prompted it. But Reed thinks the timing seems a bit fishy. "We can't say the move is directly responding to our project, but it's safe to suspect they are related," Reed told Motherboard in an email.

NASA may have just thrown some serious shade

Reed and Smyth have been working with Richard Danne, one of the original creators of The Worm, to bring the manual back to life. Danne had a copy of the book on hand, which Reed and Smyth scanned and printed into bound books. For $79, Kickstarter backers can reserve their own copies of this updated manual, which includes a foreword from Danne and an essay about NASA culture.

But if you don't feel like paying that much money for a book that's in the public domain, then downloading the NASA PDF may be for you. However, Reed says the scans of the manual available on the space agency's website aren't very good quality.

"From what we see, they are scanning the pages rather quickly and without much consideration for reproduction value," Reed told Motherboard. "Our scans will be much higher quality, perfectly color balanced, and include the matching spot colors specified in the manual (among other signature elements) — something you don't really understand through a digital representation."