We're Looking for Ideas of the Future

Websites are often organic creatures — growing, shrinking and constantly changing as the organizations they represent are themselves changing. NASA is moving forward on a new path, investing in the commercial space industry for access to low earth orbit, while developing a heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule to carry astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit.

As we transition from some mostly-discontinued programs to new programs, one of the most prominent changes will be the button links at the top right of www.nasa.gov. These buttons are our way of getting users quickly to the latest news and features in our key topic areas.

We’re searching for the best way to represent the agency’s future plans for human space exploration, and we’d like your feedback. Below are four icon concepts, along with several labels. Which do you think captures the spirit of the forthcoming new missions and projects? Are there other options for icons and labels we haven’t thought of? Do you like elements of one but not another?

Icon Concepts

4 Icon Concepts

Label Concepts

Beyond Earth
Our Future
Into the Future
Next Steps
Our Future in Space
Human Exploration
To the Future

    Let us know. Leave us a comment here on this blog or e-mail us at hq-webcomments@nasa.gov. Reflecting these sorts of changes online can be challenging. We’re often constrained for physical space in the templates and are usually having to create artwork to represent concepts that are only in the earliest of planning stages. This feedback will be incorporated into our transition plans totransition to create sections on the site for these new programs. 

    And by the way … this is not the forum for a debate on which direction NASA should be taking. Please keep your comments focused on the icons and labels themselves. This way you are helping us to make the site work better for you.

    50 thoughts on “We're Looking for Ideas of the Future”

    1. I would prefer an icon with both the astronaut and ‘alien’ planet to emphasize the human spaceflight element instead of just robotic probes visiting far of places. Hence I like B & D.

      Though D makes the astronaut look very stick-like. I wish there was maybe a space ship and then little stick like things next to the ship, unless theres a way to add more details to the stick like figure.

    2. Icon Concepts: I would combine C and D (making the planet in D slightly smaller and having C flying overhead a larger person silhouette. A and B look too similar to the current icon for NASA people.

      Label Concepts: Perhaps US Beyond Earth? (We already have gone beyond earth with our satellites. But it is US that want to go beyond earth!), that is us not United States. but I can see how it can be confusing. maybe Humans Beyond Earth?
      my favorites: Beyond Earth, Our Future in Space, Into the Future.

      Thank you!

    3. I like icon B, and Beyond Earth as the name. Beyond Earth says it all really. As with the icons, C and D don’t really ( to me anyway) stand out as a Space mission Logo.

      cheers, and goodluck !

    4. Surely all you need is a “pale blue dot” one small pixel as Earth is when viewed from 4,000,000,000 miles away.

      If the button take you HOME then it should be an icon of our small blue/green planet (since that’s home).

      That said, I like icon C best.

    5. Thanks for the invitation to join in this thoughtful design process.

      C feels like the honest choice with much of the challenge being in the long trip. A is clean but not showing exploration. B shows a focus on other worlds, but your focus isn’t just on that. D is the most fun, but really puts the focus on going to the Moon or Mars, and if that’s not what you’re saying.


      C with Human Exploration

    6. It’s about human exploration, so an astronaut is required, and not a vehicle. We could think about automated probes or I dunno what.
      Icon B seems to be the best one.

      And IMO, for the label: Beyond Earth or Human Exploration

    7. I second the idea of combining the orbiter with the man on the moon (C & D).

      My recommendation for the label is “Humanity’s Future in Space”, though that might be too long.

    8. As an atheist, and a humanist, NASA represents to me a keystone in human advancement, without it, we are limiting ourselves on a fundamental level. Human Exploration is, in my opinion, a perfect label.

      As an artist, A, C and D lack too much impact to grab me. In short, I like B for the icon.

    9. I like B because it immediately brings to mind both a person and a planet – which is the big picture message you want to convey. If I saw C out of context, I would not know what it was (kind of resembles a spark plug). D, on the other hand, looks like an extraterrestrial on the planet as opposed to a human, so I don’t think that’s conveying the correct idea.

      As far as the label, I’d vote for “next steps” because it is both literally appropriate and also harkens back to the first “steps” taken on the moon. Dual meanings are great.

      Thanks and good luck!

    10. Not sure what the icons are for so saying how much I dislike one seem absoleat. Giggle giggle I’m pretty sure the article said don’t ask what there for. Awesome job on the work

    11. The icon silhouettes are too similar. A and D look like they came together to form B. The tone is too flat, needs transparent cut outs so you can see the background and I don’t know how I feel about the outer glow. They need to be refined so they pop. At a glance they all the same. I like the labels, they’re to the point, I’m assuming the redundant labels are just alternatives to each other.

    12. Icon i would have to Say B it just really sticks out more than the others.

      As for the label i would take Our Future and Beyond Earth and put them together. Our Future Beyond Earth.

      and if we cant combined them i would say, Our Future in Space

    13. I don’t like any of the icons but if those are the only choices then “c” is the best one. The other icons look too much like something from a “Lost in Space” rerun. As for the labels either “Human Exploration” or “Beyond Earth” would be my choices.

    14. I do not love any of those. But B is better than the others and shows some what of your concept.

      They all seem like ghosts in Disney’s haunted mansion.

    15. I LOVE the A, B, and C icons. D is too different from the others and looks out of place. But as a designer by trade, I don’t think that any of these icons work for: Beyond Earth, Our Future, Into the Future, Next Steps, Our Future in Space, or To the Future.

      Beyond Earth should be something like The Earth with an arrow going past or curving around it.

      Our Future/ Into the Future/ To the Future should be something like a clock of 2020 with arrows bursting forward and then update the icon to 2030 in the next few years so that it is always at least 5-10 years ahead

      Next Steps/ Our Future in Space should be something like A but smaller and full body. Like they are stepping forward.

      I hope you find my advise useful.

      Rob Jelinski
      Rob Jelinski Studios


    16. Hello.. The icon D looks gud.. It’s like a shuttle from earth.. Instead it can also be shuttle into another galaxy or many planets or any nebula.

    17. I’m going to say B. I don’t care for the “glow” effect going on there, but I think the bones of these are good. Just in case you need a second choice, I find D kind of cute. 😉

    18. I think option B, should include a small planet at the distance, and our “Captain” should be looking at it (not looking left), as if he is determined to get there. Both images will be then related, as for now they are only to different pieces located one above the other….
      Then the Label Concept will be logical if it stands for “Exploring our future”..
      The suits connects to “exploring” and the small planet with “future” out there in space (is implicit since the web surfers are in NASA site)… and of course that future is “our”
      Hope this helps,
      Greetings from a sunny day in El Salvador (back in our beloved Earth)
      Good look!

    19. I don’t see B, C, or D working as clear website icons – they’re too busy, and the monochromatic detailing makes it hard to separate out features.

      A works well for the labels “exploration” and “human exploration”; the idea of an astronaut suit is pretty firmly established in popular consciousness, and the design is simple – there’s nothing that requires the eye to do a lot of differentiation of shape.

      I agree with Rob Jelinski in that things that talk about future/forward exploration should take a page from 1950s world expo-style graphics and incorporate the concept of movement. NASA has had several shuttle mission patches that really nicely incorporate movement into the logo – STS-120 and STS-127’s mission patches are a good example of what NASA should be looking for to evoke “beyond earth”, “to the future” (although be careful there, you don’t want it to sound too Looney Tunes), “our future in space”, etc.

    20. personally, i think you ought to ask permission from warner brothers for copying a still of marvin the martian and bugs bunny going up a flight of stairs!! i tried to load the image but it didnt work.

      or, To Infinity and Beyond and a picture of Buzz Lightyear!!!

    21. I like Icon B the most. It has an astronaut (could be gov’t or commercial), technology (space suit), and a destination, which, can be any one you want it to be.

      The only addition I can think of is to include a hand in the image (with a rock or widget or tricorder) to indicate that we will be actively doing things and not just looking around with a steely-eyed gaze.

      Icon A doesn’t give as much context. Icon C is cool, but lacks a definitive human presence (might be good for a “new vehicles” page deeper in the site). In D the dude(tte) looks alone and remote, which resonates with me, but probably not everyone.

      For the label, I would choose either “Beyond Earth” or “Human Exploration”. In my opinion, the words future or next shouldn’t be in the label because the future is now, dagnabbit!

    22. Choice: B w/ “Human Exploration” tagline
      Reason: combines human element with planet-like object. I also think it fits in best with icons currently in use.
      Why not A: too similar to current “NASA PEOPLE” icon
      Why not C: does not convey ‘human’ aspect
      Why not D: not to scale. Heh heh…This is a close second, but there are already three other planet-majority icons.

    23. I’m sorry, I don’t like any of the icons. They don’t relate to what you’r up to. I do like one label: Next Steps. Next Steps are possible today. People today aren’t into future that much anymore. So, if you ask me: you should create icons that are more contemporary en that show what your next steps are, and what your customer’s next steps could be. I wish you succes!

    24. I only like Concept C, as the others are too cartoon-like. Actually, all 4 icons sort of look like buttons on a kids’ website. NASA’s should look a bit more professional, I think.

      The Label Headings are rather vague. I wouldn’t be sure what I’m clicking on. Since it is “Future Missions”, why not just call it that?

      And while we’re on the subject, I really hope NASA continues to put content on its website that the experienced space fan likes. Details and technical info (like there used to be on most of its pages). It’s very watered down now. I often have to go to external sites to get more information.

    25. The icon you all choose should tell people where NASA is headed. There should also be a “human” element to give people a sense of connection with what NASA is doing. That being said I’ll rate the logos;

      A – the human element is there and a space suit sort of says we’re in space but maybe not enough so.
      B – human element again but with the added lunar looking surface in the background… I like this because this says we are in space very clearly.
      C – this looks like the crew capsule mentioned. There are too many questions with this one… who is inside? Anyone? Where is it headed? Plus, some people might not know it’s a crew capsule.
      D – this definitely says we are in space but that little ghostly figure looks… well like a ghost or maybe even an alien. While cool it may translate space ghosts or aliens.

      Overall, I feel that B is the strongest but it could have more strength. Maybe try to shrink the suit and give him a friend maybe pointing up and to the right, the direction that would give the sense of looking to the stars.

      For the tag line I think the human element should be carried through. Our future seems to work the best because it really gives the feel that everyone is included making people feel connected to NASA. Human exploration comes in second because it feels more generic. Our future in space comes in third because it seems a little long.

      I like the color scheme. It says technology, smarts, and just so happens that blue stars burn the most intensely… seems synonymous with NASA in regards to advancements in space.

      I wonder if NASA needs graphic designers… I happen to be one. How do I apply?

    26. As a science, space, and design enthusiast I am thrilled to be part of this “crowdsourcing” judgment.I think icons should be indicative of the brand they are trying to convey and “A” works well for the labels “exploration” and “human exploration”. I also am a firm believer in simple and clean and that “A” is the best representation of this element. Whatever you decide I am sure there are going to be people that love it or hate it, however the most important thing is for you to keep inspiring generations through the programs you develop and the things that the space program achieves. Keep up the great work.

      Robert Urban

    27. As they are now: A or D with “My Future in Space”

      I like the concept of B, but I don’t like the shape in the background. It doesn’t even look like a moon/planet. The perspective is completely off and it needs to be darkened to place more focus on the astronaut.

      What about an astronaut (as shown in A) with stars/nebula reflected off of the visor? Too much detail for such a small image? In the IMAX Hubble 3D trailer, I thought that image was very inspiring.

    28. For the Next Step icon I would simply use an Apollo-era moon boot placed on a red surface, implying Mars.

      Matthew Ota
      Professional Sign Designer

    29. Hi! I’m living in Brazil. I suggest the B icon with the “Beyond Earth” label.

    30. Since you say this icon and label should be about human space exploration, the label should be “Human Exploration”. None of the other labels clearly relates that information.

      For the icons, “A” work best due to it being clear, but a way to incorporate a vechile would be good.

      One problem with “A” is that it looks too much like the NASA People, so that one would need to be redesigned.

    31. Actually , Nasa officials are intelligent and self sustained , you all could be better from my likings . besides all this i would prefer option B . for quick link button.

    32. Great attempt altogether. Really appreciate the effort, liked the topic. Thanks for sharing it.

    33. Icon B would be the most logic choice. It represents both the explorer as the goal… although in a very basic view, but maybe this will suffice as to be allround comprehencible to everyone.

      I have a question also; as the ‘dreamer’ i am, i would like to know where i can submit my ideas about the universe and be certain they will be read and thought about and even answered if interresting enough!

      Kind regards to all of you!

    34. I like the concept of B, but I don’t like the shape in the background. It doesn’t even look like a moon/planet. The perspective is completely off and it needs to be darkened to place more focus on the astronaut.

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