The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to see its logo on your next t-shirt, cap or collectible.
The intergovernmental organization, which consists of 22 member states, has now made it easier for individuals and companies that produce goods to obtain permission to use the ESA mark (opens in a new tab). The new process, which essentially involves agreeing to some terms and submitting an online form, marks the first time ESA has allowed brands to be produced without the manufacturer first having to sign a cooperative agreement with the agency.
“This move is another step in the effort to raise awareness and general visibility in Europe of ESA and the great space work we do, work of which we can all be proud,” wrote Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director General, in a Twitter post (opens in a new tab) announces the new program on Friday (Jan. 27).
Related: Facts and information about the European Space Agency
Individuals and small businesses that do not need extensive support from ESA to develop or promote their products can now visit the agency’s new online Brand Center (opens in a new tab) to request the use of the ESA logo, astronaut insignia or mission patches. In doing so, they must agree to adhere to some basic design standards.
For example, only certain color backgrounds are allowed to be used with the ESA logo, depending on the color tone — black, white or deep space — chosen for the logo itself.
Or for those who want to use ESA’s various astronaut or robotic probe mission updates, the designs can just be used as is; they may not be altered, nor may they be reproduced so as to appear slanted, stretched or edited in any way. Furthermore, the artwork on the emblem can only be used in the patch format; it cannot be used as a stand-alone illustration.
From the Brand Center, individuals and businesses can find high-resolution and vector graphics for more than 65 ESA mission patches, as well as the astronaut patch, which features the flags of all ESA member states, as well as collaborating and affiliated member flags.
Previously, the selection of ESA-branded goods was limited to clothing and other goods offered through the ESA Space Shop (opens in a new tab)which opened in 2017, or through large corporate partnerships, for example with Mattel, which in 2021 produced a Barbie doll (opens in a new tab) like Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, or Playmobil, which released a “Mars Expedition” playset (opens in a new tab) same year.
ESA’s new approach to merchandising is similar to NASA’s, which also requires permission and places certain color and usage restrictions on the space agency’s identifiers and artwork. The US agency’s process has led to both mass marketers and luxury brands incorporating the NASA logo (opens in a new tab) into its product lines (opens in a new tab).
In fact, the US program has been so successful that it is now not uncommon to see people wearing NASA-branded shirts or hats out on the streets, and not just domestically, but around the world.
“My personal hope is that this will lead to more Europeans wearing their own space agency t-shirt,” Aschbacher wrote of the new ESA effort.
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