April 2017

Active Response Gravity Offload System



The Setup

I had a real thrill to be able to work with the legendary space agency when they needed a badge design for a research project that simulated anti-gravity! I know, right. ARGOS is the name of the unit they had built and  the acronym stands for Active Response Gravity Offload System. Elements I needed to include were the unit itself, the International Space Station (ISS), Mars, and the Moon.

The Challenge

One tough bit working for government agencies can be all of the red tape, but fortunately I was able to work with a couple of fellows that made it quite easy to review designs as needed and they were very accommodating with their timeline. However, being an agency that has public policy set by each administration, it did impact what elements I could focus on. For example, Mars and the Moon are both part of future plans for NASA, but to what extent is still a bit up in the air. While this did impact the final design, I was able to find a nice balance of hinting at those elements but not pressing a specific mission or agenda.

The Opportunity

The Solution

I custom illustrated the astronaut and other elements on the badge in a style that felt more playful than serious, While the mission of NASA is extremely valuable to our advancement as a society, it's also inspiring to our youngest generations to think about what is possible. I thought a style that reflected that playfulness with vivid colors was appropriate. I steered away from using black for space because it tends to look too dark and lonely. Space is dark, but it represents a new frontier! I included ISS, Mars, and the Moon in cascading order vertically to indicate a progression of the NASA missions in terms of nearest to farthest reaching, and also in timeline.

The illustration of the astronaut itself highlights the attachment of the harness to the astronaut's suit. ARGOS can be fitted with a number of different attachments depending on the training that needs to be done. My illustration shows highlights the heavier duty attachment for the fully-suited trainee.

In the background of this shot you can see the gimbal and crossbeam supports that reflect the actual ARGOS unit. Also, the International Space Station and the Moon make an appearance.

The Results

The ARGOS team at NASA were very happy with the design I put together. A common refrain that was heard when shopping the design around internally with management was "this looks like what NASA patches should be these days!"

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This looks absolutely perfect – Paul totally knocked this one completely out of the park. Thank you so much for all the hard work that you’ve done!
Paul Valle - Project Manager, NASA
Wes Roberts of Leadership Design Group

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