NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

This map was a hugely collaborative effort to curate and illustrate the quirky history of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, one of the nation's twelve NASA centers. 

The map is currently distributed as a welcome gift to new employees, to educate them on both fact and rumor, and assist them in getting to know their new workplace.

The project went on to include a poster series, a mobile app, and a fully redesigned new employee Welcome Package.

We hope it gives those right-brained rocket scientists a giggle from time to time, and helps instill a sense of pride about this special place.

Winner, Applied Arts Design Annual and Applied Arts Illustration and Photography Annual.

Client: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Creative Direction: Luke Johnson

Illustration: Christiane Holzheid

Lettering + Layout: Erin Ellis

Copyrighting: Anisse Gross


The front side of the Map has Icons of the Curiosities placed into an illustrated map of the Lab. These Icons are classified into categories which make up different Walking Tours, explained in 2 columns on the right side. 

The back side of the Map is made up of infographics and information about JPL's history as well as current information about the Lab's inner workings. It includes a timeline, photos and bios of past directors, special lingo dictionary, wildlife guide, and a sampling of the many safety signs on Lab. It also maps the other NASA centers across the US.

A sampling of the Welcome Pack materials. Included are the Jetpack Box, Mysteries and Curiosities Map, tote bag, postcards to Mom, and three folders to hold Resources, Information, and Benefits paperwork. 

Tote bag holds all Welcome Pack materials and was designed with re-usability in mind. The image features two deer: one robotic, one real.

Materials arrive in an official regulation anti-static bag and sealed with a 'Welcome to Our Universe" sticker.

The Jetpack Box reads,  "Welcome to Our Universe" on the outside, and on the inner flap, "Here's your Jetpack". The box features an illustration of a Jetpack with backpack straps that wrap around to the reverse side, as shown here.

One of the posters developed to further illustrate the information on the map. This one elaborates on the amusing folkloric history of the Lab.