Band Logos

Recently I've been doing a lot of thinking about bands and their logos. My own band is going through the process of trying to create that perfect image. That one symbol that may not even have text in it, but people still know what it represents...a kick ass band. I'll let you know this is a painstaking process, especially in a band with 7 members (7 schizophrenic sets of opinions).

So if you don't have a publicist or creative director to do the brunt work, how does an artist/band (or company) go about creating their logo? What questions do they ask? With my marketing background the big ones I think about are "what will people/fans/consumers feel when they see the image?", "what thoughts does it provoke?" and "how well does it represent your brand?".

For example, below is a rough idea for my band's logo.

It's a take on Prince Buster's "Voice of the People" record label graphic. Presently we're discussing whether or not we should replace the tribal figure with the silhouette of a prizefighter. I understand the relevance of the tribal figure with the original logo, but I feel like only true ska-heads will even make the connection between ours and the old one.

Taking into account the above questions I would argue that with this present design fans may get confused (or even angry) about seeing a dark figure on the logo for an almost-all-white band that plays Jamaican music. I would also argue that with the addition of a prizefighter image it will further represent our name and increase the connection between the image and the band in the minds of the consumers. Just my two cents...

What thoughts do these popular band logos provoke in you? Besides the artists' music what else make these symbols so mem0rarable and prevalent? Or is it mainly the music that makes these logos effective?


P.s. I'm a proud Minnesotan and all, but WTF?



Marksist said...

Being somewhat symmetrical seems to be a theme in a lot of popular logos.

Tooth said...

You bring up a good point Marksist. Anyone with more of an art background care to elaborate? How does symmetry, color choice, etc... affect consumer retention of images?

Marilyn Roxie said...

Circular images and readable, unique font tend to stand out.

Anonymous said...

Symmetry is fine, but is not a requirement for an effective logo. However balance in the use of space is.

The logo preferably should represent something key about the band's identity. E.g. the Rolling Stones had Mick's lips, the Dead had a skull.

Also, I might recommend the logo be easy to reproduce, so that kids can copy it onto their books, binders, skin, whatever. They become your 'viral' promoter.

The best information to be had on logo design is from Paul Rand at http://tinyurl.com/bcjr69. (FYI He designed the IBM, UPS and CBS logos, among many other things.)

gaber said...

Paul Rand's best work is FedEx. there's an ARROW in there.

The biggest thing about a band logo is how readable it is. Simpler is better. That makes it easier for people to reproduce yes, but it's also easier to read.

Another big aspect is a simple logo, allows for easy other things, like screen printing. you can't have a complex logo and be able to screen print one color.

My favorites come from the mid to late 70s arena rock bands like Foghat, Boston, Journey, REO Speedwagon, even Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin to an extent. They all had unique font choices and their own cast of symbols. (Although many had universe/spacial themes, ala the Boston starship and Journey's orb glow)

Jodi said...

The logo just represents the band. If the band is good, the logo will become an icon no matter what it is...

Anonymous said...

Paul Rand didn't design the FedEx logo. That was Lindon Leador (http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/000273.php). Rand did the original shield logo for UPS.

Band logos are one thing, iconic symbols for a band are another. Many of the most popularly merchandised bands have both (From the Stones tongue to the Wu-Tang 'W'). Here's a collection of band symbols: http://rateyourmusic.com/list/monocle/band_logo_gallery__symbols_and_icons

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