Great guitar riffs, awesome lyrics and a packed up stadium, and what do we have? A great rock concert! Apart from guitar gods and singing icons what these groups had were outstanding logos. Whether you are in a band or run a business, you need to find a logo that rocks. From retro to modern, we have a list of top 15 music logos that rock!
A great music logo not only sets your band apart from the crowd but also talks about your sound.
1. The Beatles
Who can ever forget the evergreen British rock band from Liverpool, The Beatles? John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, together formed the most influential band of all time. Formed in 1960, their music was greatly influenced by 1950s rock and roll and traditional pop. “Love Me Do”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” and “A Hard Day’s Night” remain some of their greatest hits.
The logo was designed by Ivor Arbiter, owner of a music shop in London. On the request of Brian Epstein, the band’s manager, Arbiter agreed to give Ringo his last Ludwig Downbeat Drum set for free under the condition that the band keep Ludwig’s name in the front. Epstein agreed under the condition that the band’s name would appear alongside prominently on the bass drum. Arbiter sketched the logo, as we know it today, on a paper. The legendary band got their iconic logo for free. The minimal and the ever stylish logo is a reminder that a timeless piece of logo need not be over the top. The typographic logo has a typeface called “Bootle” and had been part of the great band till it broke in 1970.
2. Rolling Stones
Another British rock band that took the world by storm was the Rolling Stones. Formed in 1962 in London, Rolling Stones were everything that The Beatles were not. While The Beatles were a pop band, The Rolling Stones are bluesy. The combination of Keith Richards’ guitar and Mick Jagger’s vocals has the world still rocking. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Wild Horses” are some of their timeless songs.
The “Hot Lips Logo” is perhaps one of the most famous logos in music history. This instantly recognized logo worldwide has been with the legendary rock band, Rolling Stones, for over half a century. The iconic logo was designed for mere £50; however, the original draft was sold for a whopping $92,500 to a London museum. The “Hot Lips” first appeared in the Sticky Fingers album and became a hit instantaneously and has been with the band ever since. Mick Jaggers, the front man of the band, said that he wanted the logo to look like the Hindu goddess Kali.
3. The Doors
The legendary American rock band, The Doors was formed in 1965. Jim Morrison, the poet, the style icon and one of the greatest front men in the history of rock music, formed one of the most influential counterculture acts of the last century. The band experimented with psychedelic rock, blues rock and acid rock. “Roadhouse Blues”, “L.A. Woman” and “Break On Through” remain some of the greatest hits by the band.
The famous graphical wordmark was designed by Bill Harvey of Elektra Record. The logo features two different fonts; italicized Art Nouveau-style font for “The” and a typeface similar to Densmore for “Doors”. The logo had several variations but featured the monochrome palette.
This “High Voltage” group from Australia was formed by brothers Malcom and Angus Young in 1973. Out of the world guitar riffs and screamy vocals is what the band is remembered for. The band tasted commercial success after the release of the “Back in Black” album. Though the band went through several changes, they will always be remembered as one of the greatest rock acts in history. “Highway to Hell”, “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” remain some of their greatest hits.
The iconic ACDC logo went through three redesigns. The logo also had four versions before settling for the current logo in 1977. The logo is marked by the use of Gothic font style which complimented the “Let There Be Rock” album and has been the permanent feature of the logo ever since. The combination of black and white creates an energetic and electrifying chemistry which very well describes the band.
Formed in Washington in 1987, Nirvana is regarded as the leader of Generation X rock music. The legendary singer-songwriter and guitarist Kurt Cobain along with bassist Krist Novoselic formed the band. Drummer Dave Grohl became a part of the band in 1990. “Smells like Teen Spirit”, “Come as you are” and “About a Girl” remain some of the most popular Nirvana songs.
The idea of the logo belonged to Kurt Cobain; however, according to Lisa Orth, former Art Director of Sub Pop records, she was the one who created Nirvana’s first logo.
Black and yellow gives the logo a very energetic contrast. The logo is youthful and electric. The “Smiley Face” was added to the logo in 1991 and depicts how Nirvana fans felt during their performance. To summarize, Nirvana is one of the greatest bands of all time with an equally memorable logo.
Formed in London in 1968, Led Zeppelin is regarded as one of the greatest rock bands ever. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, the four pillars of the band are regarded as legends. “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love” remain some of their greatest hits worldwide.
The Led Zeppelin logo was created in 1973. Every character in the logo is unique, just like the band members. The four symbols only added to the band’s mysterious persona.
One of the greatest rock and roll bands of all times was formed in 1970 and has been rocking since then. Steven Tyler on vocals, Joe Perry on the guitar, Tom Hamilton on the Bass, Joey Kramer on the drums and Brad Whitford on guitars form one of the most influential bands in American music history.
The Logo went through several changes before settling for the present one. The logo goes perfectly with band’s image and symbolizes harmony, wisdom, raw energy and elegance.
One of the founders of the thrash metal genre, Metallica is known for aggressive musicianship. The band was formed by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich in 1981. Some of their popular songs to date are “One”, “Nothing Else Matters” and “Master of Puppets”.
Metallica had four major changes to its logo, but it is widely recognized by its first logo. The current logo is a slightly modified version of the first logo. The logo signifies raw energy.
9. Pink Floyd
Known for their musical experimentation, thought provoking musical compositions and philosophical lyrics, Pink Floyd is among the first psychedelic groups that inspired generations of musicians. “Wish You Were Here”, “The Wall” and “Comfortably Numb” remain some of their memorable compositions.
Though the band has a number of logos, they are mostly associated with the “Dark Side of the Moon” logo. The light passing through the prism depicts the psychedelic character of the band.
10. Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi, the hard rock band from New Jersey was formed in 1983. The band gained popularity in the 1990s and sold over 100 million albums. “You Give Love a Band Name”, “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “It’s My Life” are some of their hit songs. The band tours extensively to this date.
The band only changed their logo twice; however, they are recognized by the dagger to the heart logo. The logo is perfect for the hard rock band.
11. Guns N Roses
Guns N Roses, also known as GNR, became a craze all over the world with the release of their first album “Appetite for Destruction”. Known as the “most dangerous band in the world” due to their rebellious attitude, GNR remains the bestselling act in music history. Some of their hit songs are, “November Rain”, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle”.
The logo symbolizes two extreme emotions: the softness of roses and the hardness of a gun, exactly what the music of the band symbolizes!
12. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Formed in Los Angeles in 1983, Red Hot Chili Peppers can boast about some of the most memorable songs in rock history. Winner of six Grammy awards, RHCP is regarded as one of the most successful bands in the history of alternative rock.
Known as “Star of Infinity”, the RHCP logo conveys the highly emotional music created by the band. The band has dismissed the idea that the eight asterisks have a hidden meaning.
KoЯn was formed in 1993 and is regarded as the pioneers of the nu-metal genre. The band has already bagged two Grammy Awards along with winning several other music awards. “Twist”, “Falling Away from me” and “Blind” are some of their memorable compositions.
Designed by the band’s front man Jonathan Davis in 1993, the KoЯn logo has remained untouched since. The logo is chaotic but fits perfectly with the band’s attitude.
Formed in 1985, Radiohead is often credited with promoting alternative rock. The iconic band has won six Grammy awards and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. “Pyramid Song”, “Paranoid Android” and “My Iron Lung” remain some of their greatest hits.
Though the band has redesigned their logo several times, their monochrome color palette has remained. The most iconic logo, which is still in use, was designed in 2000. The “Modified Bear” is the name given to the geometrically abstract bear which perfectly describes the band’s music.
Queen, one of the greatest bands the world has ever seen, was known for popularizing the music video format. One of the best selling music acts, Queen was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “I Want to Break Free” remain some of the band’s popular compositions.
The queen’s logo was designed by the band’s front man Freddie Mercury who was a student of design at the Ealing Art College of London. The logo has Phoenix, zodiac signs, crab and the letter “Q”. The logo is complex yet regal and very well represents the complex yet beautiful musical melodies of the band.
These great bands have great logos which beautifully express the kind of music they create. It is indeed a challenge for any artist or designer to design a logo that would sync with a band’s music.
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.