How The Federal Graphics Improvement Program, with its unlikely hero — President Richard Nixon — inspired the best era of U.S. government design since the New Deal.

“The 1970s was a golden age in Federal Government graphic design. Why? This video’s all about the briefly groovy period (I know, groovy is more 60s than 70s, but it just feels right) in which Federal designers let it all hang out. From the NASA Worm, to the EPA’s funkadelic graphics, to, heck, the Department of Labor acting like it just took mushrooms, this was an unquestionably adventurous period. And then it stopped. What went wrong? The Federal Graphics Improvement Program was an NEA initiative started under Richard Nixon, and its brief reign inspired design conventions, logo revamps, and graphics standards manuals. But it was also just a cash infusion rather than a bureaucratic overhaul. And as a result, we only remember toasty Federal Graphic Design, rather than enjoy its enduring legacy.”

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