Top 50 Logos in Music (#30-21)

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What artist/band has the most iconic logo in music history?

The music industry has seen some truly remarkable logos over the last decades. In more recent years, artists in popular genres like pop- and dance music work hard to build a brand to help with marketing. In many cases, the logos are so well known that they become an anecdote within popular music. As music fans and logo fanatics, NewGlue will list the top 50 logos throughout music history, from motown to techno, heading right now into 30 – 21

 

30. Justice

French EDM DJs Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay were dubbed the heirs of Daft Punk when they became world famous for their debut album † . The nonreligious duo branded themselves with a lit cross that is always front and center on stage of their live concerts. What can we say. It is always worth it to check into branding yourself with an already existing world symbol. One might think Justice would’ve been on edge co-opting the sign of a multi-billion member religion, but they have managed to rock through their careers pretty much unscathed.
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29. Oasis

Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher claimed that they were bigger than The Beatles. That might be a bit exaggerated, but Oasis are still absolute legends. The Oasis logo secured legendary status too. It’s square shape made it easily transferable as a sticker, which fans could and did stick everywhere. It subverts design expectations by adding two black and white borders where you’d normally expect one, italicizing the letters, and being in all lowercase. Moves like these are what transform a band from an artistic sound and visual to a brand. The logotype has functionality, scalable to all sizes, such as how people love seeing it on every album cover. Its scalability across physical forms like graphics and stickers secures Oasis an economic force. It’s no wonder the lads were so bloody successful.
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28. Aerosmith

Aerosmith were a smash from the beginning, with their song “Dream On” certifying them as rock legends. Getting so popular so fast, they needed branding ASAP. On album no.2’s cover they debuted the Aerosmith logo everyone knows. It was former guitarist Ray Trabano who first drew up the almost symmetrical image in 1974, and the band just kept it. Many throughout time have tried to give a solid definition for what Aerosmith exactly is. Is it fun party music? Blues rock? Are they the true All American band? The secret is in the logo. Aerosmith came about at the tail-end of 60s psychedelic music, and were just in time for the massive arena rock of the 70s that could pull crowds of tens of thousands. You see the loopy ring-of-smoke-like lettering of their name, a classic style you’d find on many 60s psychadelic posters.  Then the emblematic big wings and star in the middle, representing the massive heights the band soared to and huge stages only a rockstar like frontman Steven Tyler could take on. It’s a logo that combines pieces of music history.
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27. Iron Maiden

Many of you reading this article probably have the Iron Maiden name written in red etched in your minds from seeing it on countless t-shirts across the masses. It is even having its own fashion Renaissance right now, with many young musicians who adore that Maiden metal logo font, and incorporate it in their clothes onstage. Second original Maiden vocalist Dennis Wilcock commissioned typographer Ray Hollingsworth to design the logotype back when the band was making big waves in London in 1977. They worked from the already existing “Metal Lord” font to personalize something for Maiden. And of course, it had to be dipped in blood red. The edge-tipped font was tailor made for an edgy band, and somehow it spread to every corner of the Earth as one of the most recognizable logotypes around. That’s good branding if you ask us.
Alternate logo made on NewGlue

26. Nas

Nas’s famous logo spelling his short but intriguing name appeared on the cover of his second album It Was Written…  His first, Illmatic, opted for a more medeival gothic font. The version that has followed his whole career appears much more personalized, probably when funds became available to hire a designer after becoming recognized in his debut year as one of the greatest rappers to ever do it. It is still gothic in form, but many fans perhaps make a connection to an Arabic script influence. His name Nasir means “helper” in Arabic.
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25. Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead cycled through many pieces of symbolism in the buildup of their band to the absolute cult it became. Roses, skeletons, bears, jesters, and then in 1969, their most famous blue and red skull with a lightning bolt. You could never get a straight answer from any member of the Dead on their artistic choices, and that is perhaps why the music flows so well: it doesn’t need to be explained. Ask any fan and many probably can’t even tell you why they put the skull logo on the backs of their trucks or wear it on shirts to work. They just do, and it just sticks. Logo experts might criticize the image as not being easily scalable, and being too complex and not “clean”, but who cares. It was originally designed by their sound engineer Owsley Stanley in 1969 to mark their equipment back stage to avoid any confusion. Many bands seek to become brands, but Grateful Dead certainly became a lifestyle, and this is reflected in a logo design highly dedicated to the art.
Alternate logo made on NewGlue

24. Avicii

The late Tim Berg, more known as Avicii, became the poster boy of a new wave of EDM-music (Electronic Dance music). The talented artist tragically passed in 2018, leaving behind an amazing run of world number one hits for such a young age. His music was going to take over the world stage whether it wanted it or not though. Avicii’s sound became part of the template for an international pop that was supposed to be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. Originally representing himself with two triangles, fans found they could type these two icons on a keyboard, and surely enough spread his brand to all ends of the Twitternet. Avicii didn’t forget this, incorporating them as the “A” and “V” in the polished logotype of his name after his big break in 2013. You could say its look is hyper modern, like some alien code on the side of a UFO. Avicii’s aspirations were consistently bigger than this world, his name itself referencing a realm in the Buddhist afterlife.
Alternate logo made on NewGlue

23. Nirvana

The Godfathers of grunge, led by the almighty Kurt Cobain, created a brand by smashing guitars on stage and acting weird during interviews. The font of the name was hurriedly picked from Subpop records’ default typewriter setting, at the band’s very first label. For such a groundbreaking music, the font is rather commonplace. However, it is then cynically paired with Kurt’s own personal design of a crude replica smiley face only a band like his could flaunt. Two X’ed out eyes, a mouth that can’t decide if it’s up or down, and always against a black background. You get Nirvana’s message with one look. The smiley face had up to that point been the symbol of peace and positivity. Yet their lyrics were emotional, contradictory, and depressive. What a hijack.
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22. Nine Inch Nails

With their name being such an attention getter, curious folks would look up Nine Inch Nails’ logo to find a symmetrical “NIN” drawn by leading man Trent Reznor himself and resident designer Gary Talpas. It is a perfect image. Its lines are entirely straight, and spaced equally. It’s foldable, scalable to any size. How could a band with such abrasive controversial music go for something so… orderly? Nine Inch Nails’ art has always had a menacing vibe, like something brewing just under the surface. The logotype is mysterious and eerie for sure. Especially when they light it up in an eerie faint blue glow on stage. And then that backwards N throws you off, to let you know you can never feel so safe in the Nine Inch Nails world.
Alternate logo made on NewGlue

21. Van Halen

Perhaps the kings of the light show in the 80s, Van Halen’s logo is certainly made for it. Halen performed often incorporating their classic “VH” logo onstage as a huge dazzling light setup. The design’s straight lines make it perfect to align lightbulbs, or anything along! When they were being more wild and acrobatic and breaking more rules than any of their peers, they lit up their logo to live up to being larger than life. The straight lines are not boring or limiting in any sense however. The “V” and “H” cleverly slant to fit into a larger V. It’s a single shape, and this means their logo can be easily fashioned into models, jewelry, dogtags, and all types of profitable merchandise. The wings coming horizontal from the letters actually went on to become iconic in themselves, showing up in other bands’ stage setups as well as just regular brands. This logo is the balance between creativity and simplicity!
Alternate logo made on NewGlue

 

Whew!

Only two more entries to go before the full list of the best logos music has to offer is revealed! As logo experts, it has truly been a treat to see how these artists inject their sound into their logos.

 

SITE CONTENT:

Top 50 Logos in Music: 50-41

Top 50 Logos in Music: 40-31


Jonas

by Jonas

Favorite Branding: Preem

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