Lessons from the 1977 EPA Standards Manual Kickstarter Campaign

May 20, 2017   |   by Chris Kalaboukis
If you're not in the design world you might have missed two events that took the industry's collective breath away, the reprinting, through two incredibly successful Kickstarter campaigns, of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the NASA "worm" identity system. A graphic standards or systems manual is the rule book for any brand's expression and consistent delivery in the world. That means the precise guidelines for the logo, the colors, the type fonts, the signage, the conventions for marketing materials, and basically everything else that makes up the visual identity of an organization. When I took over as Executive Director for AIGA, the professional association for design, I knew about those two standards manuals. When Sagi Haviv, a principal in the New York design firm, Chermayeff Geismar & offered to gift us with 1977 EPA Graphic Standards Manual, designed by the renowned Steff Geissbuhler it started us on an adventure that concluded this week when we met our goal. That means that this beautiful manual will now be available to our backers, and eventually to the public through the work of designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smythe at Standards Manual. The experience has been eye opening and exhilarating. Here's what I've learned: