The (Mostly) Unknown Designers Behind Famous Music Bands – Part II
Previously, I wrote a post about the designers behind the band Chicago, KISS, Nine Inch Nails and The Beatles. Today, I’ll take you behind the scenes on the design of four more music icons. The Rolling Stones The iconic red lips sticking its tongue is one of the most recognizable …
Previously, I wrote a post about the designers behind the band Chicago, KISS, Nine Inch Nails and The Beatles. Today, I’ll take you behind the scenes on the design of four more music icons.
The Rolling Stones
The iconic red lips sticking its tongue is one of the most recognizable symbols not only in music but in contemporary visual landscape. How did it come about? Who designed it? Legends has it that Mick Jagger was looking for a graphic image for their 1969 European tour. When the record label presented layouts, Jagger was not happy. He turned to the Royal College of Art in London to find a star student to help out. It was then when Jagger met John Pasche. After Pasche created the tour poster, Jagger was very impressed with the work that decided to give him a second assignment: the logo for their upcoming studio album “Sticky Fingers.” As a reference, Jagger showed an image of the Hindu Goddess Kali, a deity known for her long pointy tongue, “I like the look of it” Jagger said. Pasche set out to do something like the stones, anti-authority and provocative. Voila, just like that, the tongue and lips logo was born! Jagger loved it and gladly paid the student the incredible amount of 50 English pounds.
Ramone Arturo Vega, the designer of the seal that has become synonymous with The Ramones is also known as the “fifth’ Ramone. He was the band’s creative director, archivist and the one who came up with the logo that propelled Ramone’s image into pop culture. Mr. Vega saw the Ramones as the ultimate all-American band so he found his muses on the US presidential seal. It was created in 1976 and is still going strong to this day. It’s hard not to notice the bald eagle holding a bat. Replacing the arrows for the bat represents Johnny Ramones’ love for baseball as well as a play off of the track “Beat On The Brat.” The ribbon held on the eagle’s beak pays homage to the band’s first single “Blitzkrieg Bop”; it reads “hey Ho, Let’s Go.
The names of the four founding members are included around the seal. Since its debut in 1976, the logo has been so popular, in fact, it’s believed that the band has sold more t-shirts with the logo than actual albums.
The logo uses a font designed by British artist Brian Pike who, in 1964, designed an original poster advertising for a gig at London’s Marquee. It was there where this logo made its debut. The vertical arrow on the ‘o’ represents, at once, masculinity and an uplifting edge. The bullseye design features the colors of the British flag. Even though the logo has never been used on an album cover it’s widely used as a badge of allegiance by The Who’s fan base.
The design of this logo is attributed to Dave Bhang, art director on the first two Van Halen records. It first appeared in 1977 on the cover of their debut album. A review writes that “the logo fits perfectly with the flash-and-trash attitude of the band, and in particular frontman David Lee Roth, as if it could also appear on a fast car racing down Sunset strip.” While the basic design has always remained constant, the band has had fun with this logo throughout the years by adding text, wrapping it around curves, set on fire and even had planets at some point.