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A Ballad of Band Logos

Logos are a significant emblem aiding bands in hinting to their most prominent ideologies, but do they play an equally significant role in etching their mark in our minds? The answer is...

Here are some band logos and why we think they are unique - controvertial, topical, soulful or just downright because they have cool fonts.

 

1. LED ZEPPELIN (Logos Chosen by Band Members)

Symbolism and its necessity

For their fourth album, the band wanted to go mysterious. This was because their 3rd album received mixed reviews and the band as a whole was disappointed in this result. So, for the new album there was no PR, no album art and no markers that tied the band to the album. They wanted their fans to identify the album by themselves.

Each band member also wanted a seperate occult symbol to represent them. Symbols which were incorporated into their inner jackets. These symbols, although subjects of many controversies and discussions, were arbitrarily chosen by the band members from an occult signages dictionary.


For example, Jimmy Page's ZOSO signage found it's origin from Mathematician J Carden's 1557 book Ars Magica Arteficii, where he described it as a representation of the planet Saturn. This made sense as Jimmy Page's astrological sign was Capricorn, which is "ruled" by Saturn.



Hence, the separation of the band from under a common umbrella of representation served them well. The separate occult signages and the controversy that arose with it served it's purpose in raising curiosity and exposing the album better to the general public. Its ironic to think, though, that an album in which they were required to do this, also had one of their signature songs "Stairway to Heaven" and later went onto become their all time best selling album.


Blue Oyster Cult


Signages of Saturn have hence arose relating to many aspects of pop culture, a famous one being the logo for the band Blue Oyster Cult.

However, here, it was not an arbitrary choice. The drummer, Albert Bouchard represented his architectural thesis "City of Future" with the symbol of Saturn.

The symbol consisted of a sickle, grain and rod which represented prosperity and heirarchy. Later, the band decided to make small changes to it and use it as their official logo.



 

2. ROLLING STONES (Logo Design by John Pasche)

Use of imagery (Literally and otherwise) in a logo


Rolling stones were one of the main pillars of the rock and roll and the rhythm and blues genre. Their logo, officially called Tongue and Lips, was inspired from the goddess Kali. Ironically though, the logo emulates a sense of levity, hope and goodwill - qualities which can be enjoyed from most of the songs made by the band.


The logo was created by John Pasche who did the logos for other legendary bands like Judas Priest, The Who etc.


The logo is high contrast, using sharp colors, simple and easy to replicate.


Rolling stones has not changed their logo since 1970 till today and I think this proves that - hope and wholesomeness, wherever they emerge from, never go out of fashion.

 

3. XAVLEG

Unintelligibility of Death metal logos

Death metal bands arise from the concept of release. Contrary to popular belief, even when the message in the song is revolting, the real point of death metal music is to give the listener a way to release their agression and frustration through the music. Therefore, death metal bands don't focus on perforating themselves into the mainstream media.

The music is designed in a way that people who have pent-up aggression of this scale find it themselves and can listen to it. Hence, death metal logos are often unintelligible and the words are muddled into an incorrigible jumble of gnarly graphics (Eg: XAVLEG logo in the picture). So that only hardcore fans will be able to recognise the band.

 

4. PINK FLOYD

Representation of the core philosophy through a logo

One of the most memorable logos of all time is arguably Pink Floyd's. The triangular prism made for their album, 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. The logo consists of a ray of light passing, refracting and splitting into the entire spectrum of colors. It's designer, Storm Elvin Thorgerson, took into account the angle of deflection of the light wave from a scientific perspective and paid special attention to contrast: the rainbow colors stand out brightly against the black background.


Moreover, the art represents 3 aspects: the band's stage lighting, the album lyrics, and Wright's request for a "simple and bold" design.

The theme of this particular album revolves around de-abstracting abstract concepts and delving deep into them. In other words, breaking down these fundamental concepts into their distinct constitutions and raining these constituents down to the listener so that they can experience the sensations that the artist is trying to propagate.

 

5. WU-TANG CLAN

Versatility of a good logo


Wu tang's logo explorations teaches us how the same logo can be used to showcase versatility and as a benchmark for sub-branding.

The main logo was created by producer Ronald "Mathematics" Beans.


The logo comprises of the words WU-TANG encapsuled inside a W.

The bird in the logo is not defined to a species. However the stark contrast and clearcut design emulates a feeling of Freedom, strength and vision.


  • Birds are a universally recognised symbol of Freedom

  • The thickness of the logo as well as the posture of the bird signifies Strength.

  • The simplicity of the design and the clear cut form signifies Vision. Like the saying goes "Being concise requires understanding". To make a timeless logo which strikes inspiration in minds as clearly as Wu Tang's logo requires a clear understanding of what the band signifies and what it stands for.

  • Moreover, the logo is designed to look like a record with WU TANG written along the label.


Versatility


Mathematics didnt just help design the main logo of the band but also separate logos for each member. The individual logos were derived from the main logo.


For Gary Eldridge "GZA" Grice

The Wu-Tang “W” was flipped on its side and modified to form a letter “G”, thus making the GZA logo that became the official symbol for all his solo releases thereafter.




For Jason Richard "Inspectah deck" Hunter

In this same fashion he designed a logo for, Inspectah Deck. For his logo the Wu-Tang symbol was used for the letter “e” in his name.



For Clifford "Method Man" Smith, Jr

Mathematics also designed the Method Man logo in a similar way, taking the Wu-Tang “W” and flipping it over its head to form the letter “M”, with some modifications to fit with his aesthetic sense.




 

6. JUDAS PRIEST (Logo design by John Pasche ; Album art by Doug Johnson)

Themed logos and album art


Doug Johnson designs all the album art for the band and for each new album the band makes, he rebrands the logo in such a way that it acts as a blueprint for the album art design. Subsequently, it can be used to understand which album a song or the logo is from with the same effect as the album art itself.

He incorporates the materiality of the art and the overall feel of it into each individual logo. Hence, programming the logo to be an outline for the album art.

 

7. VELVET UNDERGROUND and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

Logos acting as a placeholders

These two band logos have a common aspect: Both of them use a highly recognisable font to represent themselves. The Velvet Underground got its name from journalist Michael Leigh's 1963 book of the same name. the book detailed the secret masochist subculture in the 1960s. Hence, the banana logo. The logo consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. The banana art was created by Andy Warhol who managed and produced the band. However, It acts more as a placeholder logo.


Not so similarly, In the case of RHCP, The logo acts as a placeholder platform for the font to shine. Just like The Velvet Underground, The RHCP logo can just comprise of the text in the circular orientation, it is just as recognisable. But contrary to the former, the Star of affinity, used here, shows all the possible directions (Read: Possibilities) representing the chaos in choice and life.




However, In both these cases, the logo in itself is just an add on to an already representative typeface.

 

8. DEAD KENNEDYS AND THAIKKUDAM BRIDGE

Condensing the band name into a recognisable logo


Thaikkudam bridge is an indian band who saw their peak in popularity in the 2013-2017 with many hit songs, tie up with movies etc.

The band, therefore wanted to represent their humble origins by including the bridge itself in their logo. The logo is a condensed version of the band name and looks like an abstract of a bridge.

Dead kennedys logo, was also the condensed form of their initials. But instead of it representing anything, they wanted it to be simple and represent the music they make.

The story goes that the band asked designer Winston Smith to create a logo, and he did with arranging toothpicks. The logo, of course, became so easy-to-make that it has long outlasted the band, which hasn't put out a record since 1986.


 

9. SOME LEGENDARY BANDS AND THEIR NOTABLE FONTS






Bootle by Northern Fonts, Ltd.

The Beatles logo by Ivor Arbiter



 




Systema Encéphale by Adam Jones

TOOL logo by Adam Jones





 




Floydian by GAIA productions





 



Onyx by Grant Alden

Nirvana logo by Grant Alden




 



Pastor Of Muppets by Larabie Fonts

Metallica logo by James Hetfield




 



ITC Serif Gothic by Herb Lubalin and Tony Di Spigna

Black Sabbath logo by Sandy Field




 




Kashmir True Type by Brian Davies

Led Zeppelin logo by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell




 




Kellie by John Gordon

Deep Purple logo by Luan Tashi




 




Slaytanic by Chris Hansen

SLAYER logo by Blake Edwards




 




Die Nasty by Typodermic Fonts

KISS logo by Ace Frehley




 




Densmore by Larabie Fonts

The doors logo by Art Chantry




 




Daft Font by MatreroG

Daft punk logo by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo





 




ITC Benguiat by Ed Benguiat

GRETA VAN FLEET gold logo by Raisya Irawan






 

IN CONCLUSION




Bottom line of a good band logo comes down to satisfying that part of our brain which responds and resonates to the music which the band makes... The font and the logo used should be able to correlate to the intangible that their music gives out to the listener.

To put it in the simplest of terms, Band logos act as a condensed subtitle for the emotion that their music is trying to convey.


Hope you enjoyed this long blog, We wish you have a great year ahead! :)




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