Any rock band that wants to break into pop culture consciousness should be armed with a logo that will endure through time. Some of the world’s most popular rock bands have some iconic logos through which they will always be remembered. Fonts, colors, and images carefully put together to form rock band logos help fans identify with their idols. They carry these logos with them through shirts, pins, stickers, and in the case of one band, hand signals. From different evolutions and variations to their constant appearances on bass drum heads and album covers, rock band logos are essential parts of a band’s identity.
We took note of some of the most memorable logos that have been found their place in the music industry. These logos are engraved in the minds of millions of people worldwide, which have helped establish the importance of band logos for any group that wants to be remembered. These rock band logos symbolize some of music’s most notable acts, who were made much more unforgettable because of their emblems. Read through the stories behind these iconic rock band logos, how they were designed, and how they have become some of the world’s most notable symbols.
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1. The Beatles
Widely regarded as the most popular rock band in history, The Beatles had a logo that matched their iconic status. Known as the “Drop T logo,” it was designed by instrument retailer Ivor Arbiter in 1963. Arbiter sold Ringo Starr his drum set, and made a deal with Beatles manager Brian Epstein to include his shop’s logo in the bass drum head. Epstein agreed, but only if it included the band’s name as well. Arbiter made a quick sketch, which is now one of the most recognizable rock band logos of all time.
2. The Rolling Stones
Repeatedly hailed as the world’s most popular band logo, The Rolling Stones’ “Tongue and Lip design” was first used in their 1971 album “Sticky Fingers.” It was designed by artist John Pasche in 1970, who drew inspiration from the Hindu goddess Kali, and also from Mick Jagger’s famous mouth.
A rustic font used for the band name, separated by a lightning bold – this logo for AC/DC remains to be one of the most iconic rock band logos to this day. Designed by Atlanta records head and creative director Bob Defrin with Gerard Huerta, the typography was inspired by a font found in the first mass-produced book by Johannes Gutenberg, the Holy Bible. It was designed to match the religious imagery of their single, “Let There Be Rock.”
With the two S’s as lightning bolts, the KISS logo stands as one of the most ubiquitous rock band logos today. It was designed by guitarist Ace Frehley, who drew it on a poster at a club they were lined up to play in during their early days. It then appeared on their second album, “Hotter than Hell.”
5. The Who
Unlike most other bands with iconic logo, The Who’s pop art-inspired symbol was never actually used for an album or single. Designed by British artist Brian Pike, it was made for a poster for a London gig. With the O made to look like the symbol for males, the H’s connected to symbolize unity, and the colors of the British back prominent in the background, this logo is still the band’s most identifiable image.
6. Led Zeppelin
Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of art collective Hipgnosis designed the typeface for Led Zeppelin in 1973, which remains to be one of the most recognizable types today. It was first used as part of the album art for the band’s fifth studio release, “House of the Holy.”
7. Van Halen
Despite getting some modifications at certain points of the band’s career, the Van Halen logo is still one of the most popular symbols in the music industry. The sleek design, with straight lines as wings on either side of the letters V and H, were changed into curved lines upon the departure of original vocalist David Lee Roth in 1986, who was replaced by Sammy Hagar. The logo was then reverted back to its original design when Roth came back in 1995.
8. Guns N’ Roses
Then regarded as the bad boys of rock music, Guns N’ Roses came out with a logo that was both strong and macho, but with the hint of softness. Said to be designed by lead guitarist Slash, it features two intertwined .44 Magnums, wrapped around by roses with thorns.
Aerosmith’s classic logo was designed by guitarist Raymond Tabano who, by the time his designed was used in their 1974 release “Get Your Wings,” was no longer with the band. The winged A image is still the band’s identifier to this day.
Queen’s stately logo was designed by their eccentric vocalist Freddie Mercury, who was a graduate of a London art school. Mercury wanted the Queen Crest to have a hint of royalty and was inspired by the British coat of arms. He incorporated the band’s identity by drawing in each band member’s zodiac symbols as their representation, which surround the letter Q.
11. Grateful Dead
Made to be a symbol that will easily identify the band’s pieces of equipment, Grateful Dead soundman Owsley Stanley thought of the logo based on a road sign. He worked on it with artist Bob Thomas, and the red, white, and blue skull with a lightning bolt first appeared on their 1974 double album, “Steal Your Face.”
12. Red Hot Chili Peppers
The logo for popular funk rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers was designed by their frontman Anthony Kiedis, around 1984. He merely drew on a piece of paper, and the eight-point asterisk symbol, often referred to as the “Star of Affinity” by some, is actually called “Angel’s Asshole” by the band.
The all-lowercase letters logo of English rock band Oasis harks back to the iconic logo of fellow English rockers The Beatles. Their black and white logo has appeared in different variations in all of their album covers, except in “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.”
American alternative rockers Weezer debuted their W logo along with their first release, the “Blue Album,” back in 1994. It was designed by Patrick Wilson while they were wrapping up the album and, to this day, is a fan favorite, with concert goers replicating it with their hands at Weezer shows.