The band logo was once the key – a perfect distillation of the group’s aesthetic that seems to have died out in recent years….

Sex Pistols

 
The 10 greatest band logos of all time

The cut up script provided by Helen Of Troy from her idea of doing a kidnappers ransom note is one of the most copied logos of all time- one, because it looks great and two, because anyone could scissor and paste a newspaper to get themselves a free logo in the days before laptops and graphics packages- there is something to be said for necessity being the mother of invention!

Black Flag

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

Perfect- it’s the 4 bars that does it- brutally simple and brillianlty effcetive- representing a waving flag and prison bars at the same time- it must be one of the most tattooed logos in ink history and represents something with its’ simplicity and perfection and brutal aesthetic- a bit like the band themselves…

The Ramones

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

When Dee Dee Ramone stumbled into Arturo Vega’s flat and saw the fantastic artwork on the walls he had a masterstroke and got the art dude to provide the graphics for the Ramones.

Arturo grabbed the idea of the band being the ultimate all American band and matched it with the graphics that took the US seal and made it the Ramones own, adding a baseball bat to the mix. The whole world now wears a variation of this without really knowing where it came from.

Rolling Stones

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

Andy Warhol’s lavicious tongue perfectly captures the slavering hip thrusting sexuality of Mick and the Stones at their strutting peacock best and is, arguably, the first branded logo. It set the staple for generations of bands, especially rock bands to have a design to represent them.

Run DMC

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

One of the rules of the perfect logo is simplicity and Run DMC understood this with the basic script being bold and powerful and saying’ no bullshit’ from one of the greatest rap crews of all time.

The Doors

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

Just on the right side of corny the Doors logo has an off kilter couple screws replacing the O’s thats sort of hint at a door and the the idea of the doors of perception or getting screwed or something…

Dead Kennedys

 
 
The 10 greatest band logos of all time

Looking like some sort of ancient double axe head the Dead Kennedys logo is one of those great pieces of art from the American hardcore period- aperiod when the logo was king and looks great on a t shirt. There is something ironic and wilfully brilliant about the anti corporate punks with their corporate logos!

The Misfits

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

They became legendary mainly through their great artwork and probably have sold more T shirts than records proof of their understanding of the power of the logo. The cool thing was that when everyone got the T shirt they then backtracked to the band’s old songs where they found a whole catalogue of undiscovered punk rock gems that have stood the test of time.

XX

 
 
The 10 greatest band logos of all time

The 2 X’s that make up the band’s logo are so simple and so powerful and so perfect- it has hints of the hardcore aesthetic in its design that is quite the opposite sonically from their music.

Abba

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

I just love the backwards b in there- this letter twisting could also apply to Adam And The Ants with the reverse d in their name- Adam was always brilliant at his artwork and the early Ants’ graphics are some of the best in punk and as for the insect head/indian head dress combo- brilliant

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

Honoury mention to Crass for the serpent eating its’ tail logo- one of the most popular patches ever and a sly and brilliant take on capitalism……

The 10 greatest band logos of all time

31 COMMENTS

  1. The spraypaint tail on the M of The Jam and The Who’s arrow rushing skywards inspired dodgy market stall parka patches and pencil case Picassos alike.

    Italian bovver kings Giuda have a great logo and are about to roll out a new one for their second album.

  2. Johne Pasche drew the Stones’ lips, not the apocryphal Warhol. Also, Danny Kleinman drew the Ant Warrior not Adam who as you know was all about found images and collage. x

  3. Mega City Four would definitely be high on the list for me. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin paid their mortgages on merch sales too I expect.

    Logos died around the time BritPop broke and bands either copied old logos wholesale or just picked a font that looked good online.

    • I agree with Johnny & Benjm. Why aren’t KISS & the Who on this list. I would also add Billy Idol, Public Enemy & Velvet Underground. For that matter, I’m not crazy about the order in which the logos are presented. The Ant Warrior is WAY cooler than ABBA, Black Flag or half the logos on this list. I sense a little bias from the author.

  4. most of the late 80’s goth bands had superb logo’s……….sisters of mercy, fields of the nephilim, the mission, alien sex fiend, the (southern) (death) cult……all now adorn retro hipsters t shirts

  5. Possibly the best band logo around now is Ulterior’s omega – suitably stark and uncompromising, much like the band themselves. It’s also slightly cryptic – if you don’t know it’s the Ulterior logo there’s no clue. That gives it a hint of insider cool. I’ve seen it painted on leather jackets – and if that starts happening, you know your logo is a good ‘un.

    Interestingly, Ulterior have more or less skipped the usual ‘rock merchandise’ route and have gone straight for the fashionista market, via a deal with Long Clothing….

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151394674672032&set=pb.86464187031.-2207520000.1383301130.&type=3&theater

    I wonder how many of those cool kids know what they’re wearing?

    But, in a sense, it doesn’t really matter. The band name is out there, and I’m sure Ulterior makes more cash out of the deal than they would if they were just flogging cheapo T-shirts out of a box at the back of the gig…

    httpss://www.dollskill.com/long-clothing-x-ulterior-faith-oversized-tank.html

  6. Obviously we could all go on all day with extra suggestions…I would think that Iron Maiden and AC/DC are two that should be here…also Kiss…even Def Leppard. All instantly recognisable as being from those bands. And yes, I know the letters in those words also give it away….but you know what I mean!

  7. AC/DC anyone??? Or maybe the bony TS of Twisted Sister? Public Enemy is a must. Not even the all mighty Boognish made the list..

  8. That little picture of the Ant logo hardly does it justice does it?! It’s one of the greatest, along with the great Arturo Vega (RIP) Ramones logo. Iron Maiden and Motorhead should be there too and the excellent PIL one. Graphic wise, PIL’s album/product concept was great too, though apparently ripped off from Alex Cox’s film Repo Man.

  9. No Lords of the New Church dagger? That is an instantly recognisable one…it is legendary. How about the Bauhaus face? Yes, I know they took the German Bauhaus movement logo, but those two band logos are iconic and legendary, no words are needed, you see them, and you know which bands they refer to.

  10. I love the list. Think it’s spot on. And as for the Abba logo, in school back in the 70s the rumor was that the logo was originally 2 cocks and 2 pairs of boobs. Round out the A’s and that does work! Put that in the 70s rumor bin with the Rod Stewart one and the Richard Gere one!

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