Bruce Nelson Blackburn was born on June 2, 1938, in Dallas and raised in Evansville, Ind., on the Ohio River. His father, Buford Blackburn, was an electrical engineer. His mother, Ruby (Caraway) Blackburn, was a homemaker and real estate agent. As a boy, Bruce spent hours painting and drawing in his bedroom. In his teens he formed a Dixieland band and won state music competitions playing the French horn.
He graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in design and served in the Navy as a communications officer.
By the late 1960s, Mr. Blackburn had moved to New York to work for the design firm Chermayeff & Geismar. He later left it to found Danne & Blackburn. He parted ways with Mr. Danne in the 1980s and started his own firm, Blackburn & Associates, on Park Avenue. He married Tina Harsham in 1979.
In addition to his daughter, Ms. McFadden, Mr. Blackburn is survived by his wife; two sons, David Blackburn and Nick Sontag; a sister, Sandra Beeson; and eight grandchildren.
He and his wife moved to Santa Fe, N.M., a decade ago, and they settled in Lakewood, Colo., in 2017. A project that became important to him was designing logos for two Episcopal churches of which he was a longtime congregant: Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Weston, Conn., and St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe.
Last year, Mr. Blackburn was surprised when NASA revived the worm logo and put it on the side of a SpaceX rocket that was launched into orbit in the spring. The fate of the worm had always remained a tender subject for him.
“I think he was glad to know that his design was finally back in space,” his daughter said.