Space Exploration Technologies Corp., doing business as SpaceX, is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California.
The name is an abbreviation of Space Exploration Technologies and it takes on a similar approach as the Tesla logo, not only in terms of typography but also by stylizing one of it’s letters.
Meaning and history
NASA has always attracted private contractors to build ships. You can tell who owns the space capsule by looking at the logo on the side of the device: the recently launched Crew Dragon has the letters ‘SPACEX’ with a stylized ‘X’. The name is short for Space Exploration Technologies.
The presented emblem had two versions, but the first has not been used for a long time. The designers found many bugs that needed to be fixed. The horizontal lines of the letters “S”, “C” and “E” seemed unbalanced in height, the rounded corners were inconsistent, and the vertical stripes were too wide.
The space between “A” and “C” was considered disproportionately large due to the fact that “A” had no left side. The upper horizontal stroke ‘E’ was separated from the rest of the letter, which the developers also mentioned: They didn’t like many creative elements, while the SpaceX logo was supposed to look solid and professional.
The slim X was also criticized: its inner edges were too close to the dividing line and the long curve tapering very smoothly, creating a feeling of fragility. All this led to the fact that the designers corrected the errors and created a new logo.
When organizing the first flight with astronauts on board, SpaceX placed its logo on the vehicle. The Tesla vehicles that were supposed to bring the astronauts, as well as the Crew Dragon suits and the Falcon 9 rocket, featured an old NASA symbol known as the “worm.”
It was returned just for this historic event: NASA’s main sign remains the blue “meatball” circle, which appeared in the 1990s. It was also used during SpaceX’s debut launch in orbit.
Symbol font and color
The revised version of the logo reflects a balance of curved and straight shapes. The edges of the letters look symmetrical and the top “A” is enlarged and aligned. Additionally, the designers have improved the proportions of the horizontal and vertical lines to match their width. The rounded corners ‘E’ (left) match the shape of the ‘C’, and the rectangular edges (right) blend into the angled sides of the ‘X’.
The developers have adjusted the letter spacing, which made it possible to set the reading rate. Now “SPACE” and “X” are a bit distant, although they still form a word and represent the name of the company. The final letter has also been corrected: its inner corners emphasize the dynamic trajectory of the bow, and the corner cut from a long line creates a feeling of confidence and strength. The vertical version of the emblem looks just as representative. It is intended for missiles where it is impossible to place a horizontal version of the inscription.
At the same time, SpaceX does not abandon the old logo and considers its use as a natural stage in the evolution of the brand. The company supports the idea that it can come back in some projects and exist simultaneously with the new brand.
As SpaceX jokes, they want to make a good impression on Martians, which is why the space industry leader pays attention to the visual quality of their logo. And it also gives it a special meaning, because the diagonal line “X” is shaped like the trajectory of a rocket launch. The association becomes apparent when a letter is superimposed on the condensation trail from launch vehicle engines. This stylization accurately conveys the main mission of the company, symbolizes progress and advanced technologies.
In the first version of the emblem, the design was more creative: “A”, “E” and “X” were missing whole fragments. In the second version, the developers made “A” and “E” readable by returning the missing parts. Despite this, all the letters in the word have an unusual appearance and the smooth curves convey a sense of speed. The SpaceX logo does not use any of the existing fonts – the inscription was invented from scratch by New Jersey’s RO-Studio.
All parts of the word, except for the curved line of the letter “X,” are colored dark blue. It symbolizes dedication, perseverance and perseverance. The line representing the missile launch trajectory is light gray. This tone is associated with stability and tranquility.