I’m only including logos that are not based around a typeface, that’s for another day!
Coming in at number 10…der ner, der ner neh, chukker cher, chukker cher it’s
10) Iron Maiden
Known as ‘Eddie’ this Skull faced fiend was everywhere when i was a kid. I never really liked Maiden or Rock but i always thought Eddie was cool.
He has evolved over the years but this is my favourite version from the 1981 album ‘Killers’.
When you see ‘Eddie’ you know it means ‘Iron Maiden’.
It’s those Sun City boys – Queen!
I did like Queen, they were probably the closest i ever got to Rock apart from a brief flirtation with Metallica when the Black Album came out.
When i heard the Sex Pistols for the first time i said goodbye to Queen. The Logo is still pretty cool though.
Like most of the logos on this list the Queen logo evolved over time and this is my favourite version from ‘A Day at the races’.
I’m a sucker for Heraldic imagery and that is what i love most about this but what the hell is that crab doing in there? Perhaps one of them got crabs while they were recording this. I guess we’ll never know.
8) The only entry by an american act.
I know that it’s controversial stance: but for me, Punk is all about the UK. I never really ‘got’ any of the american Punk stuff.
There were some great acts that came later who were influenced by Punk and i have finally come to accept that some of the UK Punk acts were inspired by the Ramones but for me it just aint Punk.
I do however love the Dead Kennedys logo. ( And it’s a great name for a band too)
It’s a great logo. Fairly easy to draw quickly on wall but also with a more sophisticated 3d shading effect for when you have more time.
The Rising Sun element also really appeals to me. It was everywhere in th elate 70’s and early 80’s but now ’tis but a distant design memory. Sigh.
7) A disproportionate amount of this list is given over to what may be called ‘Goth’ bands. I Loved that stuff .(Although we never called it Goth at the time.)
Goth bands loved a logo. Pretty much every Goth band i can think of had some sort of symbol that they associated themselves with.
Danse Society were one of my favourite bands from this period. Unlike most of their peers they were quite synth heavy.
One reviewer described their sound as being like ‘New Order Playing Black Sabbath B-Sides’.
In other words – AWESOME! heheh
It is actually a very funny and accurate description.
By the time i discovered them in ’86 they had pretty much disappeared. They were one of the earliest pioneers of the look and the sound and although they had some killer tunes they just couldn’t seem to translate it into sales.
They were one of the few scene bands who were signed to a major label and there were rumours in the 80s that they had signed for a ridiculously large advance. Their marketing was all a bit ‘Duran Duran’. Hair blowing in the wind, slick arty almost ‘Classy’ record cover art. It just wasn’t right for the market.
They had a GREAT logo:
Sadly, i never once saw it on a T Shirt or painted on the back of a leather jacket and that was the sign of successfully marketed band in my opinion.
6) Back to Rock again. I grew up in an area that was big on Rock and Metal.
After all the West Midlands is the home of Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and of course – Wizzard.
I didn’t like Motorhead but i did love (even now) ‘Ace Of Spades’. They also had great artwork and more importantly and absolutely fantastic logo.
I don’t know why this logo resonates so much with people but it does.
Everyone seems to love this gimp masked, be -tusked,pierced,bondage hog face.
It’s a really clever logo i think. Somehow you look at this and you know what they are going to sound like. In fact i would go as far as to say that it does that more successfully than any other entry in this list.
5) Adam & the Ants. Good God how i loved the Ants!
When i started to lose interest in Punk, it was the Ants that next captured my imagination.
Anyone not around at the time would find it hard to believe just how big they were. Adam Ant was in the papers nearly every day.
For younger readers – he had a level of fame akin to maybe Lady Gaga except he was genuinely cool and he made music that fit his image. Music of a style that no – one had even imagined before.
And this was their logo:
I drew this over and over and over. On School books, on my arms, just everywhere.
Looking at it analytically, i think that it is maybe a little too complex compared to some of the other entries here.
But i love it though and number 5 it stays!
4) Now this is an interesting one!
This band didn’t have to do a thing when it came to their logo, they just nonchalantly walked up to it, discreetly shoved it into their undies and walked away.
the band Bauhaus, took their name from a German School specialising in design: ‘The Bauhaus’.
The Bauhaus was a fascinating place. Sponsored by the government of the time, young people could join the school and spend some time working out what area of design they wanted to specialise in.
You could study pretty much any design discipline there.
The School also produced products for general sale such as textiles, ceramics, furniture etc. It was all going great until those pesky Nazi’s broke up the party.
The School also produced type face or Font as it is more commonly described these days. The band took the name of the School, some of the type face that the school produced and also a logo that school used on occasion.
I actually think that what they did was quite Punk really. And i bet a whole generation of us learnt something about The Bauhaus from our interest in Bauhaus the band.
Fortunately, the band were also knockout, with some great tunes and a great stylish look. The boys did well and if you are gonna steal, steal BIG.
3) Now this one is a bit of a cheat as this logo was actually devised as a representation of the Two Tone record label rather than the band that it eventually became associated with: The Specials.
Punk was still pretty big when The Specials hit the scene and although they were most definitely not Punk, they did have the attitude and singer Terry Hall had a brilliant look and a disinterested vocal style that made him a natural successor to the Pistol’s Johnny Rotten.
All the punks that i knew, loved The Specials. Some gave up on Punk and became ‘Rude Boys’ and gradually i started to see The Specials logo more and more.
Easy to draw but very effective ‘Walter Jabsco’ (as the logo was known) was THE thing that said you were a Rude Boy.
I remember that someone who lived near me had a tattoo of it and that would have to be my earliest memory of seeing someone having a tattoo associated with a band.
There are probably a lot of guys in their late 40’s who have that tattoo.
2) In my opinion these next 2 bands were the most consistent brand savvy bands of ALL TIME!
Neither of them were ever huge and they did much of the hard work in house.
First up, my number two: The Sisters of Mercy.
They were one of the big Goth bands no doubt, but while they never had the sales of The Cure or Siouxsie and the Banshees they did have a fantastic logo that that you would see time and again on badges, T- Shirts, Jackets, Tattoos – it was everywhere on the scene.
Like all of our top three entries it was usually printed in cost conscious black and white. The band were very clever with their record sleeves too.
For most of their heyday they ran their own label – ‘Merciful Release’ and each sleeve was black with one accent colour.
When displayed as a collection they look just gorgeous and one day i will have them ALLLLLL! Mwuhahah!
Designed by the band’s singer ( Andrew Eldritch) it is comprised of anatomical diagram of the human head (as found in early text books for surgeons ) superimposed over a star.
It was actually reasonably difficult to draw and there were some terrible versions to be seen adorning the back of leather jackets around the world.
When done properly though it looked stunning.
They would have made it to the number one spot but for the fact that they revamped it less than successfully.
Many of you will have seen The Ramones logo co-opted by Topshop and the like. The Motorhead logo has also suffered this terrible indignity.
Our number one entry has also recently been used by some crappy fashion label.
Sadly it is only a matter of time before we see The Sisters of Mercy logo on a dayglo Primark Onesie.
and at Number 1….
Yeah i bet a few of you saw that coming.
I never liked Crass as a band but i adored their artwork and their logo and their stance.
Many of their releases came in(mostly black and white) fold out sleeves that you could display as a poster. (very clever!)
The Imagery was shocking, sacrilegious (to some) and Punk as FUCK!
And this is the logo:
It has it all:
easy to draw, religious overtones, a bit of the Union Jack, Serpents, it spells out the name ‘Crass’, paganism, i love it!
Crass never sold out, they helped other bands and left a brilliant design legacy.
In a move that was way ahead of the curve, they declared many of the images designed for the band to be copyright free.
I’m guessing that this means that we will see much more (ab)use of it in years to come.
Crass – we salute you!