10 great hard rock logos
The heavier end of the guitar spectrum has given the world some incredible logos. Alexander Eckstein selects 20 of the best.
Design and rock music have never strayed far from each other. And for many rock bands, the logo has been an immensely powerful branding tool: imprinted on records & CDs, featured on stage backdrops and musical equipment, and printed onto t-shirts and other merchandise purchased by fans and followers across the globe.
This article presents a thoughtful and informative exploration of some of the most iconic, audacious, and eye-catching logos in hard-rock history. Any we have missed? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Unveiled in June 1977, the AC/DC logo was designed by Atlantic Records art director Bob Defrin with the help of renowned graphic designer Gerard Huerta. The logo depicts a lightning bolt that is incorporated within the band’s name. Huerta is credited for its sharp, carefully-crafted Gothic lettering.
This classic winged logo was designed by the band’s former guitarist and founding member Raymond Tabano in 1974. It comprises of a stylized letter A with a star and a pair of wings. Tabano unfortunately left the band by the time the logo was unveiled.
03. Black Flag
Black Flag logo was designed by guitarist and primary songwriter Greg Ginn’s brother, New York-based artist Raymond Pettibon, who also suggested the band’s name. The logo comprises of a stylized, undulating black flag that features four black bars.
04. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer logo comprises of a stylized skull. With the letters E and P encircling the whole symbol, it was designed by Swiss surrealist artist HR Giger in 1973. Giger died aged 74 in May 2014.
05. Grateful Dead
Unveiled on their live double album Steal Your Face in 1974, the Grateful Dead logo comprises of a grinning skull and a lightning bolt. Often termed as the ‘stealie’ logo and originally used to mark the band’s equipment, it was designed by sound engineer Owsley Stanley and rendered by art director Bob Thomas.
06. Iron Maiden
Few logos have as widespread global appeal as Iron Maiden’s. Featuring an angular heavy metal typeface, Iron Maiden logo was designed in 1977 by singer Dennis Wilcock with the help of art director Ray Hollingsworth.
Comprising of a double-lightning bolt, the Kiss logo was designed in 1974 by the band’s former lead guitarist Ace Frehley. The logo has since aroused much controversy due to its close resemblance with the insignia of the Nazi Germany ‘SS’.
08. Led Zeppelin
This legendary, hand-drawn logo was designed in 1973 by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of English art design agency Hipgnosis, originally as a part of the cover art for the band’s 1973 album, Houses of the Holy.
Created in 1981 by frontman James Hatfield, the Metallica logo features a hand-drawn, jagged typeface that perfectly conveys the heavy metal attitude of the band. The logo was later famously reworked in 2008 by Turner Duckworth.
Motörhead logo consists of a demonic skull with long horns and vicious teeth. Also known as ‘War-Pig’ or ‘Snaggletooth’ and featuring gothic style lettering, it was designed in 1977 by American graphic artist Joe Petagno who also created album covers for Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Nazareth, and Roy Harper.