Top 10 Band & Music Logos

Bands and musicians are just like anyone else that present themselves as a ‘brand’, be it a small business or sole trader, in any industry. Oftentimes they work under their own name, just like photographers, tradespeople and freelancers do; other times they have a creative name, just like most businesses you think of. Therefore, like these other brands, musicians, DJ’s, producers and band logos are commonplace.

Continuing in the series of my top 10 logos, today we are looking at my favourite band and music logos for some healthy design inspiration on a Monday.

1: Black Flag

Both the band name and the logo were created by artist Raymond Pettibon, brother of lead guitarist and songwriter Greg Ginn. Four vertically staggered black bars symbolise the literal flag with a black flag being chosen to represent anarchy, as the polar opposite of the white flag typically used to signify surrender during a war.

As one of the most iconic logos of the punk scene, it further symbolises non-conformity and rebellion. Whole memes have come into existence based upon it with Justin Bieber parodies and fan art versions for sale on easy despite cease and desist letters from the record label. How ‘punk’ they are!

2: Nirvana

One of my own favourite bands of all time, the Nirvana symbol of the inverse ‘smiley face’ summed up an entire generation of disillusioned teenagers whose main objective was to apathetically get high behind the bleachers.

Allegedly drawn and created by Kurt Cobain himself, it’s meaning is open to interpretation. Several sources claim it as influenced by the logo of a strip club in downtown Seattle called “Lusty Lady” but there’s only a slight similarity. All I know is that nearly every schoolbag and pencil case had one scrawled across it in first form, even if the owner was a fan or not.

The typography is set in Onyx, which to my eye is showing it’s age, but it’s not like the brand really needs to develop nowadays.

3: The xx

Compared to some on this list, The xx are relative newcomers to the music world. Their self-titled first album was released in 2009, a white “X” on a black square. That’s it — and it’s perfect.

Instead of trying to impose a logo design on the world, they’ve drawn attention to the symbol of an X, giving it different formats and tones. It led to fan artwork being created in the same vein, as documented by this tumblr, where the simple X acted as the window to visuals that could be seen through it. A brave and creative strategy, personally I feel works incredibly well, where you now see an unrelated “X” on a sign and draw the connection automatically.

4: Ministry of Sound

The Ministry of Sound originally began as a London nightclub, with various rooms each dedicated to a sub-genre of electronic music. It’s record and artist label division started releasing compilation albums in 1993 and has become one of the most influential in the dance, house and trance genres.

From what I can find, the Ministry of Sound logo was created over 20 years ago by mysterious artist Chemical X. The spherical portcullis in the centre can be seen to represent both the globe and a speaker, based upon the UK House of Commons emblem with the chains and crown.

5: Deadmau5

Yes, the Deadmau5 logo does draw similarities to Disney’s Mickey Mouse logo. Yes, there is an ongoing legal battle, but irregardless, it makes for a great logo design for the Canadian DJ. Not only that, his huge helmet he uses in live sets looks incredible silhouetted behind the lasers and light shows. Ultimately it’s a huge part of his identity, so it’s odd that Disney have only got annoyed recently about the resemblance.

Almost entirely based on circular forms, the mau5head (mouse head) is a deceptively simple form with the cartoon eyes and super wide grin. It symbolises the atmosphere he aims to create in live shows during the bouncy, fun and smile-filled events of the crowd.

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6: Run DMC

An iconic logotype in the music world, Run DMC’s logo is most likely one you can draw up in Microsoft Word, in the Franklin Gothic Heavy typeface. It’s that kind of simplicity that makes a great logo design, in fact like the Black Flag logo, memes and parodies have gone mainstream — such as the Run DMC logo generator.

It was designed by Cey Adams, a graffiti artist and painter, turned graphic designer known for is his work with Def Jam Records on album covers and record labels.

7: Rolling Stones

One of the most instantly recognisable symbols in Rock & Roll, the original artwork of the lips and tongue logo were designed by pop-artist John Pasche in 1970. It encapsulates Mick Jagger’s lips, the mix of sensuality and rebelliousness in their music, and has been in use ever since.

The original artwork which was commissioned after Jagger approached Pashce as his Degree show for a logo and was recently purchased by the V&A for $92,500.

8: Aphex Twin

The first time I saw this incredible logo was tattooed on the arm of a masked dancer at an electronica set many years ago. My first thought was I love that! What is it?

Several definitions of the ambiguous logo exist, from an adaptation of “λ”, the symbol for wavelength to an ancient Cornish symbol, but the most likely explanation being it was an alien-inspired letter A. If you know Aphex Twin’s music, you know how mental it can be, so the incredibly odd logomark is a perfect fit for the DJ and musician.

9: Sex Pistols

Almost as ‘punk’ as you can get, the Sex Pistols logo defines a genre (100% punk by the way would be to instead of having a logo, just burn the building down and run away to have a fight.) Presenting the band name in a ransom style cut and paste form gives the impression of a handmade, visceral and very raw identity — spot on if you ask me.

Designed in the mid-1970’s by Jamie Reid it appeared first on the “God Save the Queen” single then on the “Never Mind the Bollocks” LP.

10: Scissor Sisters

I hate their music, but I love that logo. That’s allowed isn’t it?

Designed in 2001 by the band’s guitarist Scott Hoffman after being told the name of the new band:

“…it was the first couple of days (together as a band), and we decided to record music, and Jake {Shears} had the name on the tip of his tongue. He told it to me, and I made the logo the next day. It was sort of done and made sense.”

Simple and elegant, the double visual and double meaning works perfectly to represent the band, and the brand.

So that about wraps up my favourite, top 10 Band and music logos from around the world. What are some of your most loved musicians logos and why?

if you are looking for a professional logo designer, click here to get a quote!

Originally published at on January 5, 2015.

Inkbot Design a Creative Graphic Design Agency in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Experts in Logo Design and Branding.

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