Stourbridge “grebo” mob Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, notable for having two bass players, famously made more money from their merchandise than their music. During a three-year period during the early 1990s, the band produced over 80 different T-shirt designs.
NYC thrash metal legends Anthrax memorably teamed up with Public Enemy for the 1991 single ‘Bring The Noise’. Their pointy logo has adorned everything from baseball caps to wristbands. Recently the veteran band has found a second wind thanks to their song ‘Madhouse’ being featured in Guitar Hero 2.
Designed by Alan Forbes for The Offspring’s ‘Conspiracy Of One’ album in 2000, this skull logo, according to pictogram.blogspot.com, “points out that the cosmos of vengeance and lust for justice burning in one’s head can be – without the support and reinforcement of like-minded individuals – doomed to failure if it’s just one man tearing up the plans.”
Levellers bassist Jeremy Cunningham once sent NME a turd in the post after we gave the band’s 1992 album ‘Levelling The Land’ a 2/10 review. It was also Jeremy who, years earlier, sketched out this striking logo upstairs at his local pub, The Eagle in Brighton.
Another classic metal design, with the childish backwards ‘R’ calling to mind the terrifying “RED RUM” sequence in ‘The Shining’. After the band’s 1996 debut ‘Life Is Peachy’ came out, fellow nu-metal icon Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit tattooed the logo onto Korn guitarist Brian Welch’s back.
English artist Roger Dean has carved out a reputation for fantastical, colour-drenched landscapes, many of which adorn Yes album covers – along with the “bubble” logo he debuted on the band’s 1972 LP ‘Close To The Edge.’
Van Halen’s logo is an example of formal design perfection – although, interestingly, they changed its wings from straight to curvy to announce the arrival of Sammy Hagar and the departure of original vocalist David Lee Roth in 1995.
Chuck D designed this logo himself in 1986. Many at the time assumed the figure caught in the target scope was supposed to be a cop, but Chuck D insists it was just a “B-Boy”. He explains: “I silhouetted E-Love, LL Cool J’s right-hand man, in a fanzine named ‘Right On’ with Magic Marker, X-acto-knifed it out then layed a target scope over it, using Wite-Out within the blackened figure. After some runs through the copier – presto.”
John Lydon came up for the idea for this logo for his post-Sex Pistols band, Public Image Ltd. He wanted it to resemble an aspirin – or indeed a “pill”. The man he commissioned to design it was Dennis Morris, who had been Sex Pistols’ official photographer.
Contrary to popular belief, this pop art-inspired logo has actually never appeared on an album by The Who. It was designed by Brian Pike in 1964 for a poster advertising the group’s gig at London’s Marquee club. It subsequently found its way onto thousands of badges, becoming a key element of mod iconography.
‘Led Zeppelin IV’ – the band’s untitled fourth album – was originally listed in Atlantic Records’ catalogue as ‘Four Symbols’, a reference to the sequence of four runes featured on the reverse of the album sleeve. This first one supposedly represents guitarist Jimmy Page, although some fans assumed it was a word, pronouncing it as “Zoso”.
For their the third album ‘Minutes To Midnight’ LA nu-metal giants Linkin Park ditched the bracketed logo that they’d used on their first two albums, and opted for this bold design, whose clarity and simplicity has drawn praise from graphic design bloggers.
One of just five logos in our Top 50 to be written entirely in lower case. The others are Oasis, Daft Punk, Motorhead and Arctic Monkeys.
This distinctive motif appeared on the cover of Muse’s first two albums, but was missing from their third and fourth, before being reinstated for their recent live album ‘HAARP: Live From Wembley’.
The French electro duo’s logo is intrinsic to their enigmatic, anti-celebrity stance. Thomas Bangalter explains: “To us, the Daft Punk logo should be the star – the concept is to keep us more low-profile than the music itself.”
Simple yet effective, this no-nonsense logo found its way onto countless badges, patches and T-shirts in the late ’70s.
Bandleader Greg Ginn’s brother, artist Raymond Pettibon, designed the punk band’s trademark four black bars. Dave Grohl attempted to tattoo this logo on his left forearm when he was 12, but gave up after three bars (not the full four) because it was so painful.
The Beatles’ now-iconic logo had humble origins. It was designed in 1963 by Ivor Arbiter – merely the man who sold Ringo Starr his drums – and applied on Ringo’s bass drumhead by London sign painter Eddie Stokes.
First appearing on Aerosmith’s 1974 album ‘Wings’, this motif has lasted a lot longer than the man who designed it, original guitarist Ray Tabano, who had actually already left the band by the time ‘Wings’ came out.
Reminiscent of ancient scripts such as Sumerian cuneiform, Klaxons’ highly original logo is often accompanied by a mysterious crab-like symbol, suggestive of pre-historic cave paintings.
One of punk rock’s most enduring images was actually plagiarised. In 1979, Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig saw the skull on a poster for the film ‘The Crimson Ghost’ and decided to use it himself.
Lead guitarist Ace Frehley came up with the logo, which first appeared on the band’s second album, ‘Hotter Than Hell.’ Frehley’s masterstroke was rendering the final two letters in Kiss as stylized lightning bolts.
First appearing on Jamiroquai’s 1993 debut album ‘Emergency On Planet Earth’, Jay Kay’s self-designed “Buffalo Man” logo – a stylized silhouette of himself wearing one of his trademark hats – has appeared in various forms on all of Jamiroquai’s albums.
Appearing on The Grateful Dead’s 1974 live double album ‘Steal Your Face’, it was a GD roadie who came up with the idea for the logo. He saw a similar design on a road sign and thought it would be a good motif to print on the band’s equipment as a way of identifying it.
This ransom-note-style, Sex Pistols-inspired typeface appeared on both Libertines albums, 2002’s ‘Up The Bracket’ and 2004’s ‘The Libertines’. Many obsessive Libs fans have been known to get the logo tattooed onto their skin.
Ditching the old-fashioned ‘typewriter’ font used on second album ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’, My Chemical Romance frontman – a graduate of New York’s School Of Visual Arts – designed this scratchier, angrier logo for the band’s third album ‘The Black Parade’.
As the band’s name is an acronym for the two couples in the group – Agnetha & BjÃ¶rn, and Benny & Anni-Frid – Swedish designer Rune SÃ¶derqvist wanted the two B’s to face each of their respective partner A’s.
Designed by Atlantic Records VP and creative art director Bob Defrin, AC/DC’s now-legendary logo made its debut on the international edition of ‘Let There Be Rock.’ It is one of four logos in our Top 50 to feature lightning bolts, the others being Kiss, Metallica, and The Grateful Dead. Interestingly, designer Gerard Huerta based the typeface on writing he’d first seen the Gutenberg Bible – the first ever printed book.
Magazines wishing to review Justice’s debut album were told they had to refer to it in print with a crucifix symbol (although Amazon stubbornly call it ‘Cross’) – leading to subbing quarrels across the land. The logo has since come into its own at Justice’s live shows, providing a glowing backdrop to the Parisian duo’s turntable heroics.
Designed by Jamie Reid for the Sex Pistols single “God Save The Queen”, released in July 1977, and ultimately the “Never Mind the Bollocks” LP, the cut-out lettering meshed perfectly with the torn T-shirts and safety pins dreamt up by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood as a visual hook for punk rock.
With its simple black and white lettering recalling Ivor Arbiter’s famous Beatles design, Oasis’ trademark logo has appeared on all of the band’s album covers, apart from ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ (where it was replaced by a transparent effort designed by guitarist Gem Archer) and forthcoming release ‘Dig Out Your Soul’.
Lead singer Freddie Mercury, a London art-school graduate, designed the Queen Crest. Surrounding the letter “Q” are the four band members’ zodiac signs. You can vote for the best band logos ever.
British artist Derek Riggs designed all of Iron Maiden’s artwork from 1980-2000, coming up the logo as well as the band’s legendary mascot Eddie, and supplying Maiden with perhaps the most cohesive and recognisable visual theme of any band in history.
The Nine Inch Nails logo was designed in 1989 by Trent Reznor and Gary Talpas, who worked as art director on ‘Pretty Hate Machine’, ‘Head Like A Hole’, ‘The Downward Spiral’ and ‘Further Down the Spiral’. The design was inspired by the sleeve of Talking Heads’ ‘Remain In Light’ album.
Groundbreaking Staten Island hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan got its unmistakable Batman-style trademark from DJ Allah Mathematics. Already well-versed in the art of graffiti when he joined the Wu, his design found its way onto countless Clan album covers. What do you think of our Top 50? You can vote for the best band logos ever.