famous band logos

History of Famous Band Logos

Famous band logos and how they came to be

Famous Band Logos – Great bands have always had great logos to accompany their persona, one that jumps to mind is the ‘Metallica’ logo, it screams metal music, and to this day it stands true. In this post we’ve compiled some of the best band logos and a quick history of how they came to be. What’s your favourite band logo? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Beatles

famous band logos

Known as the “Drop-T” design, the now famous Beatles’ logo was based on an impromptu sketch by instrument retailer and designer Ivor Arbiter in 1963. And get this, he was paid only £5. The capital B and dropped T were supposed to underline the word “beat”.

The Who

famous band logos

British artist Brian Pike designed the font featured on The Who’s famous logo for a poster advertising an gig at London’s Marquee. It would appear as if they got more than their money’s worth out of this design, right?

The famous “target” logo of The Who features an arrow coming out of the last letter of their name, similar to the medical symbol for male, therefore superbly symbolizing masculinity and portraying an uplifting edge at the same time. The two ‘h’s in the logo merge to create a feeling of unity.

The Rolling Stones

famous band logos

The Rolling Stones logo is known as the “Tongue and Lip Design”. The “red big mouth”, as it is known, was designed in 1970 by John Pasche, the renowned British graphic designer. It won’t be wrong to say that the “red big mouth” represents the rebellious and passionate mouth of Mick Jagger, the key band member.


famous band logos

The AC/DC logo remains one of the most iconic logos in rock history. It was created by Atlantic Records’ creative art director Bob Defrin and famous graphic designer Gerard Huerta. The logo was unveiled on the release of the international edition of their fourth studio album “Let There Be Rock”. The gothic lettering was inspired by a font found in Gutenberg’s Bible.

Led Zeppelin

famous band logos

The typeface for Led Zeppelin’s famous logo was designed by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis fame in 1973. It was created to be used as part of the cover art for the album ‘Houses of the Holy.’


famous band logos

Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley first drew up the band’s ubiquitous logo on a poster outside of a club the masked group was scheduled to play early in their career. Frehley’s plan was to make the “SS” look like lightning bolts, and to most eyes, that’s exactly how it came out.


famous band logos

Legendary vocalist Freddie Mercury, a London art-school graduate is responsible for creating Queen’s appropriately stately and regal logo. Mercury designed the logo to impart a sense of British royalty into the band’s identity. The close resemblance to the British coat of arms does the trick quite nicely. However, there’s more to it than that. Each band member is represented by their zodiac sign symbols, which surround the letter “Q.”

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The Doors

famous band logos

A definitive answer for the designer of ‘The Doors’ logo has not been found. It is thought to have been designed by the Art department at Elektra in New York, which was headed by Bill Harvey at the time, but this is not confirmed.


famous band logos

Guitarist Raymond Tabano may have only played with Aerosmith for a short period of time, but his contribution to the group’s history via the creation of their classic winged logo is immeasurable. The artwork designed by Tabano, who was replaced by Brad Whitford in 1971, has become one of the most widely recognized images in rock. The winged-A design was first seen on the 1974 album ‘Get Your Wings’ and has continued to represent the group to this day.

Van Halen

famous band logos

Designer Dave Bhang created the now-iconic winged ‘Van Halen’ logo. Eddie Van Halen recalled that after Bhang showed the band the logo the quartet made Warner Bros. put it on the album so that it would be clear that they had nothing to do with the punk movement.

Iron Maiden

famous band logos

Iron Maiden’s famous logo is featured on all of the band’s releases and official compilations. While Maiden bassist Steve Harris has claimed he created the typeface himself, there is also belief that the origin of the font is from Vic Fair’s poster design for the 1976 film ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth.’


famous band logos

Metallica guitarist James Hetfield is responsible for designing the group’s former and current logos. The original logo made its first appearance on the band’s business card in the 80s. The design had a new look with ‘Load’ in 1996. But the classic print showed up once again on the ‘Death Magnetic’ album cover. Hetfield is also responsible for the band’s ninja star and scary guy logos.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

famous band logos

Often referred to by the band as the “angel’s asshole”. This circular motif was designed by Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis sometime around 1984.


famous band logos

The nirvana logo consists of a smiling face and the Onyx typeface. The happy face was reportedly influenced by the emblem of a strip club based in downtown Seattle, called “Lusty Lady”. There is a whole bunch of rumours regarding the meaning of the smiley and of course the most common theories are far away from the truth.

What is your favourite band logo? Comment below.

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  • Gerald

    Cool post. It’s worth noting that Metallica hired Turner Duckworth to refine the original log in to what it is today including the ‘glitch’ version featured on their most recent album.

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