Last week, the Space Force logo was released, and we pity the poor designers who have been endlessly dragged on Twitter. (Note: this is not to be confused with the official seal, which was released earlier this year.)

Sources: Star Trek, Space Force

It’s been called “the Pontiac logo upside down,” a “plagiarism of Star Trek,” and more. Some speculated that the “official seal” was going to be the logo, but this new logo was a lackluster attempt to improve the seal, which had been extensively roasted as well.

The thoughts behind the design

On Twitter, the Space Force explained the significance of the logo’s elements:

“Semper Supra” (Always Above) is our official motto and it represents our role in establishing, maintaining, and preserving U.S. freedom of operations in the space domain.

In the center of the delta is the star Polaris, which symbolizes how the core values guide the Space Force mission.

The black area embodies the vast darkness of deep space. Some feel fear and dread but we prefer to be inspired and stand up to the challenge.

The delta is the connection to our heritage, used by the U.S. Army Air Forces as early as 1942.


Mission accomplished or crash landing? The verdict

Is the criticism warranted? Yes and no. Objectively, the logo is aesthetically pleasing, but designers missed a chance to create something distinctive. Designer Lawrence O’Toole put it well:

Something as momentous, futuristic, and expansive as the formation of a new branch of the military is a ripe opportunity to push the boundaries of branding rather than reemploying expected tropes…

Unfortunately, this mark feels like it’s borrowing as much as it can from surrounding marks, so that it can fit in and feel legitimate.