The Who. Designed by Brian Pike, 1964
This logo was originally designed by Brian Pike for the promotion of the band’s debut at London’s the Marquee Club on the 24th, November, 1964. The show was publicized by the new band’s manager Lambert & Stamp, who made these special black and white posters and concession cards get printed under the tagline of "Maximum R&B". This poster has remained as one of the most classic images in the history of rock music. Curiously, this logo was never used on any of the band’s albums but has remained their most famous identity.
This logo shows a clever way of how to turn a normal bold lettering into an original identity with just a couple of adjustments. First, by merging the letter "H" from both names, creating a feeling of unity and a nice balance on the whole wording. Also, by merging the letters "T" and "H” to enforce this same feeling of unity. The addition of the arrow to the letter "O" provides the logo with an uplifting, powerful and dynamic strength, and closes the whole wording at the same time. This arrow also ads the mod image that the band’s managers decided to project at the time, being the arrows an important icon in mod and pop art. This logo also symbolizes the freshness and wildness of The Who’s music in the early 60’s perfectly.
Grateful Dead. Designed by Bob Thomas, 1969
This Grateful Dead logo is just one of the different versions that the artist Bob Thomas did for the band throughout their career. The logotype was originally commissioned to Bob Thomas by the band in 1969. It was a version of a former logo that had been designed with the purpose of marking the flight-cases of the band in order to identify them easily during their tours. The original logo only featured the blue, red and white circle with the ray, and was usually sprayed on the flight-cases. This way, Thomas added the skull image to it. The logo was not used on an album cover until the release of "Steal Your Face" in 1976. It was also used later in a couple of compilations, it still remains as the main identity for the band. In 1992, a year before his death, Bob Thomas revisited the logo to produce 50 signed, numbered and hand colored prints as a hardwood block engraving.
Grateful Dead’s logo is a nice example of how a simple drawing can project an strong image for a band. In the skull is recognizable Bob Thomas’ drawing style, influenced by art-nouveau and so popular during the 60’s poster art in California. It also shows a beautiful way of balancing the colors in a "Yin-Yang" style.
The Rolling Stones. Designed by John Pasche,1971
This logo was originally designed for The Rolling Stones own record label identity in 1971 and was first reproduced on the inner sleeve of the "Sticky Fingers" album. The original cover art was made by Andy Warhol, which caused the wrong impression that he also designed the logo. This logo remained as the main identity of the band throughout the years, even when it was not reproduced on album covers very often.
Goddess Kali,19th century
John Pasche was a 25 year old student at Londonâ€™s Royal College of Art when he asked by the Stonesâ€™ management to design a poster for the bandâ€™s European tour. Apparently, Mick Jagger turned up at John Pasche‘s final degree show where the poster was on display. Soon after, Mick Jagger asked him to design a logo for The Rolling Stones record label and showed him an image of the Hindu Goddess Kali, which was his starting point. The work was done in about two weeks and he was just paid Â£50 for the task. Two years later, he was paid another Â£200 as a recognition from the band to its success. The copyright of the logo was lately bought by the band, but Pasche still owned the original artwork, which is currently on sale for Â£300,000 at the artist’s web site.
John Pasche designed four tour posters for the Rolling Stones between 1970 and 1974 and also worked for other reputed artists, such as Paul McCartney, The Who, The Stranglers and Dr Feelgood. He works as a freelance designer in Surrey, UK, and he still remains a fan of the band, as he says "I have fond memories of a good working relationship with them. The logo is one of the strongest and most recognizable worldwide. And of course I’m proud of that."
The Rolling Stones logo is an unique icon in pop art, based in curvy shapes and plastic volumes. It has everything a logo must have to be perfect. It is simple, it works good just in three colors and all sizes, it could fit anywhere, it sticks in your mind and is easy to recognize. And the most important, it expresses in one sight exactly what the music from the band represents: a mixture of wildness, sensuality, freshness and provocation. On top of that, it happens to resemble Mick Jagger’s famous lips.The way that Pasche worked with the curvy forms is just perfect. The white reflections on the lips provide the logo with a plastic and fresh look that fits perfectly with the image of pop music. Another achievement from the artist was to include the teeth, which gives the logo an aggressive and and defiant look. I have seen dozens of logos featuring lips and tongue, but none can be compared to this one by far.
Yes. Designed by Roger Dean, 1972
Roger Dean is one of the most reputed illustrators and designers related to rock music who earned a reputation during the 70’s, especially for his numerous works for the band Yes. This was in fact the third logo designed for the band. The first one was originally designed by the band’s guitarist Peter Banks in 1969 and was featured in the cover of their debut album. The second logo was designed by Dean for the "Fragile" album in 1972. But, not satisfied with his work, Roger Dean decided to create a new version for the band’s following album "Close To The Edge", which became the famous trade-mark for the band and was used in most of their discography.
Yes "Fragile" logo
The Yes logo is one of the most popular band logos from the 70’s and one of the most beautiful ever designed. Is one of the most representative works from Roger Dean‘s style, influenced by Western art, art-nouveau and the psychedelic poster art. In this logo, Dean achieved simplicity, originality and balance in a brilliant way. This logo couldn’t get any better than it was when it was designed more than 30 years ago and it has been described by experts as a "calligraphed colophon".
In the sketch featured here, taken from Roger Dean’s book "Views", you can see the process he went through to give life to the logo from his original idea. An architect and furniture designer, Roger Dean worked with the curves in an elegant and natural way, providing to the image of the band with dynamism and a feeling of powerful flow. This logo represents perfectly the fantastic and surrealistic world of Yes music that Dean also pictured in his cover art for the band. It is also an example of how Roger Dean was one of the artists who made good use of the stroke in logo design, which became a personal signature on his works.
Roger Dean’s original sketches
The craftsmanship that Dean demonstrated drawing curves and strokes, considering that no computers were used at the time, is pretty amazing. Another clever thing about this logo is the way that Dean introduced the feeling of 3D and volume in the lettering, turning the logo into something half-way between a living creature and a landscape, especially by turning the letters "Y" and "S" into a one form that crawls into the hole of the letter "E". Finally, the whole logo is reinforced by this form by underlining the word and distributing the vertical space.
After this logo, Roger Dean later used this personal style of lettering for all Yes albums and other artists, including Yes guitarist Steve Howe, Osibisa, Greenslade, and Asia. This logo was used in most of the extensive discography from the band. It was put to rest for a couple of albums in the mid 80’s (one of them featuring a new logo by design guru Peter Max), and later recovered by the band in 1991 until today. The original logo work is today showcased with several album covers in the permanent collection of Victoria And Albert Museum in London. Roger Dean has developed numerous versions of the logo throughout the years, as you may see in the sample.
Other versions of R. Dean’s Yes logo
Emerson Lake And Palmer. Designed by H. R. Giger, 1973
Emerson Lake and Palmer’s logo is actually the most reputed anagram in rock music. It was originally designed in 1973 by Swiss artist H.R. Giger as part of the cover art for the band’s fifth studio album "Brain Salad Surgery".
In 1972, Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Swiss agent contacted Giger to commission him for the artwork of their forthcoming album, which at the time was going to be entitled "Whip Some Skull On Ya". This logo was used by the band ever since and was extremely popular during the 70’s.
H. R. Giger gained international popularity in 1979 after wining an Oscar for his work for the all time classic sci-fi movie "Alien". He has also worked on cover art for artists such as Debbie Harrie, Magma, the krautrock band Floh De Cologne, and he even designed a mic-stand for the band Korn.
This work is an excellent example of how to make a long name fit into a simple and effective logo. Giger found a clever way to make the anagram work by balancing the circles in the letters "E" and "P" to encircle the whole thing. He also balanced the rest with a long vertical center spinal formed by "L" and "P". This is a wonderful lesson of balance and economy in logo design.
Kiss. Designed by Ace Frehley, 1973
Surprisingly, the famous Kiss logo was designed by no other than the band’s guitarist Ace Frehley in 1973 for the band’s second album "Hotter Than Hell" and used by the band ever since. The design of the logo was part of a decision from the band to project the band visually by using the comic style and sci-fi costumes and make-up that made them worldly famous.
The Kiss logo is one of the most simple lettering ever and it works perfectly for the band. Like other heavy rock bands, it expresses wonderfully the feeling of power and strength. In this case, the combination of vertical and diagonal lines is perfect, and the way that Frehley used the convenience of having two twins letters together couldn’t get any better. Despite it has been pointed that this lettering was inspired in the SSS nazi lettering, Frehley has often refuted this.
AC/DC. Designed by Gerard Huerta, 1976
AC/DC’s original logo was designed by Gerard Huerta for the original cover of the European/USA release of the band’s fourth album "Let There Be Rock" and it has remained as the main identity of the band for the rest of it’s career. Curiously, it was not used in the following album from the band but it was recovered in 1978 for the cover of "If You Want Blood You’ve Got It" and was later used in most of the band’s albums.
The logo was originally designed as a lettering for the band’s name when, in July 1976, Gerard Huerta was commissioned by Bob Defrin of Atlantic Records. A year later, Huerta was hired to design the orange beveled AC/DC logo.
As the artist has explained, this logo was originally inspired by a former work that he did for a pioneering gothic rock band: "I designed a piece of lettering for a live Blue Ã–yster Cult album for John Berg called â€œOn Your Feet or On Your Kneesâ€ The album showed a church on the front with the Cultsâ€™ limo on the cover. The back was a photo by Don Hunstein of me holding a bible with the credits on it. My thought on the cover was to take the metallic car marque idea and combine it with lettering reminiscent of the Bible. I remembered this lettering when designing one of the AC/DC sketches and used this as my source. So you see that this logo is more Gutenberg than goth."
Gerard Huerta works today as reputed designer of lettering and logotypes. He has said about his work: "This was just a job like any other record job: you did some sketches and you did a finish. I have never really used that art for promoting myself as it was probably one of only two jobs in my career that shared an unusual quality in my work: it was all made out of straight lines. This was not particularly virtuosic for one who prided himself on custom hand lettering. I have recently resurrected my credit for it as it seems to touch a lot of generations. This and some guitar playing has indeed made me cool with all my childrenâ€™s friends. Howâ€™s that?!"
This logo was a major influence in heavy rock and heavy metal design and, accidentally, created a link between these music genres and the gothic lettering. Gerard Huerta‘s work is simple and effective, the angular lines and strong body of the lettering represent perfectly the power of AC/DC’s sound.
Sex Pistols. Designed by Jamie Reid, 1977
Jamie Reid’s design for Sex Pistols represents one of the wonders about how a proper image can launch a product successfully to the audience and reinforce their original spirit. Many music critics wonder today if the Sex Pistols would had been as famous if it was not for the visual support of Jamie Reid, manager John Malcolm McLaren, and fashion designer Vivian Westwood.
This logo was designed by Jamie Reid for the Sex Pistols single "God Save The Queen", released in July 1977. Reid also worked for other artists such as the Dead Kennedys and was one of the most representative artists from the British underground scene and DIY art, who helped create a subversive image for the Sex Pistols. He has later worked to artists such as Afro Celt Sound System.
This logo is a nice sample of the collage techniques that Jamie Reid was using during the 70’s, making the band’s name appear as ransom note. The cutting and pasting technique provided the logo with a dynamic and anarchic feeling that fits the music perfectly. With this look, Reid brought a breath of fresh air to image in rock music in the 70’s and was very influential during the 80’s.
BjÃ¶rk. Designed by Paul White,1993
BjÃ¶rk’s logo was originally designed by Paul White for the release of the Icelandic singer’s "Debut" album in 1993 , and first released in the edition of 12" "Venus As A Boy". This logo was only used during the first three albums from the artist and was later dropped when the singer started working with other designers.
"Venus As A Boy", 1993
Paul White set up Me Company in 1985, focusing largely on the music business and including a narrow collaboration with One Little Indian record label. About his relationship with the BjÃ¶rk, White has said: "Probably the most interesting projects I’ve been involved with came from the long-running relationship with her"
Paul White has also designed numerous works for BjÃ¶rk’s former band, Sugar Cubes, as well as the artwork for the singer’s first three albums and included 3D modeling. He has also worked under different aliases for numerous music artists, such as the Swans, Foetus, Test Dept, and Nick Cave.
Other versions of BjÃ¶rk’s logo
This logo is effective, has a strong presence, and it represents the world of futuristic technology that characterizes BjÃ¶rk’s early works perfectly. It represents a new generation in computer design with a strong focus on organic geometry. The original lettering created by White was used fin the first three BjÃ¶rk’s albums as well as in numerous 12" releases and merchandising. This logo was very influential futuristic lettering style in techno and electronic music genres during the 90’s. Out of this logo, other simple versions were also designed featuring only the letter "B".
Jamiroquai. Designed by Jason Kay, 1993
This logo was designed for Jamiroquai’s debut album "Emergency On Planet Earth" and was used in the band’s following three albums. It was allegedly created by the band’s vocalist Jason Kay.
Jamiroquai’s logo is a nice example of how an image can identify a product. In this case, the band is represented by the figure of lead vocalist Jason Kay. This logo was accompanied by a smart marketing campaign in which the artist appeared on the videos wearing the same indian buffalo hat that shows in the drawing. Jamiroquai’s silhouette is nice, recognizable and easy to catch in a glance. It also features one of the characteristic dancing poses from the singer. This logo is a classic image in pop music from the 90’s.
Other top rock band logo designs