I worked on a personal project recently and decided to share.
Issues with the Current NASA Site:
I expected more from the website of NASA. I was pretty disappointed to see how cluttered their tiling on the homepage was and it made me not want to read anything. The whole homepage menu was huge, which I ended up moving to a slide out panel on my design.
I started by researching and taking notes on the main parts of the current homepage and "favored" areas that links everywhere but did not get enough attention or a spotlight anywhere directly on the homepage. I came to a conclusion that (without any legitimate user data, so kind of an educated guess), the most utilized parts of the website were the "News/Updates", the beautiful "Photo of the Day" section, and "NASA TV" with live videos of astronauts on the ISS.
After choosing the main sections of display on the homepage, I went to the original NASA website and searched "Branding" to get their logo. Interestingly enough, the "NASA 1976 Graphics Standards Manual" was the first thing that came up and my inner design nerd came out. I decided to use the 1970s logo and typeface pairing for the design of the website.
The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing is coming up, so I gave the homepage more of a Moon theme for the background images and color palette but I think that could all be changed out for other colors and photos if needed in the future. All imagery and photos were downloaded directly from the original NASA site.