The NOAA emblem illustrates the interconnections between the Earth, ocean, atmosphere, and ecosystems. The design was chosen as NOAA's emblem in 1971. In 1970, NOAA was officially recognized and all of its components were united under a common name and mission. One year later, NOAA's first administrator, Dr. Robert White, gave NOAA employees the choice of three designs to be the official emblem for the new agency.
The chosen design was made the official NOAA emblem later that year and remains the official emblem of the agency to this day.
About the winning design, Dr. White remarked that: "A white, gull-like form links the atmosphere to the sea or Earth. The Earth and atmosphere and the interrelationships between the two are, of course, major concerns of NOAA. The line defining the top of the gull's wings also resemble the trough of a foaming ocean wave against the blue sky. A creature of sea, land, and air, the gull adds an ecological touch to the Earth-sky motif."
Over the years, the emblem has been used in many ways both within the agency and out and a variety of iterations of NOAA's official emblem have been created and used across the agency and propagated across the internet. In 2021, in an effort to wrangle the varied presentations - from color to design - a project began to standardize the design and presentation, updating colors to align with a pervasive digital pallet, while addressing accessibility.
The emblem is a core brand identifier for NOAA and as such has enjoyed great use. With that in mind, we have outlined adaptations and implementations to take full advantage of the brand recognition, while acknowledging the constraints of smaller mobile screens.