How to choose the perfect Band Logo

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In light of my recent blogpost on how to choose the perfect band name, I decided to take it one step beyond. That’s just me being thorough. At least I feel I should since my master thesis handled on the subject of identity-management. And that’s exactly what any band should have; a carefully built-up identity with an eye for detail. Hence, once you’ve settled for an unbelievably rad name, make it take shape. Find yourself a proper logo to make your brand stick with the crowds.

But how do you go about creating such a kick-ass visual? Again, I’ll sacrifice myself and take an attempt to uplift newborn band’s standards. Let’s go over some pointers and pitfalls.

Another Full Proof 7 Step Plan

  1. Don’t be a cheap knock-off

Let’s start where we left off. It is of vital importance that you create something, that’s differing from anything already out there. PLAGIARISM IS NOT COOL. In my opinion any resemblance to another band’s logo is to be avoided at all times. Dammit, you’re an artist! So get to the drawing board and create your own unique style and image. Unfortunately not all artist have proven to be able to avoid peer-likeness. Ergo, they’ll be forever doomed to rest in their comfort zone of analogies.

In order of appearance : ‘Van Halen’ – ‘Weezer’ – ‘Nirvana’ – ‘Blink 182’


2. Define your color pallet

Pink Floyd got his color pallet down, making his crazy diamond shine on with the full color specter. I’m not saying you have to go to equal lengths but try to avoid the norm of reciprocity. You could go for ultraviolet for all I care but try to bypass the predominant black, red and yellow. Make your own color moodboard on Pinterest with an overload of color schemes at your disposal. Whether you’re painting your house, accessorizing your wardrobe or sketching a prototype emblem, colorprinciples of contrast and harmony apply all the same.


Pink Floyd

Be mindful of the places where your audience will retrieve your trademark. Your merchandise, your webpages and social media, your band uniforms, pet apparel etcetera etcetera …  whatever you cook up, have the entirety tinged in the unique tincture of your carefully pinned down pallet.

A small footnote notwithstanding. You surely choose the best colors that you shine but in spite of this, the grayscale version has to look swell too. Makes it that much easier for the diehard fans to get their tats done right.

3. What’s in a name?

A straight out enigmatic question when it comes to logo design. Will you be adding lettering to your visual? Let’s examine some of the most popular band logo’s.  

Some bands have succeeded in creating a perfect symbiosis between lettering and visual. Apparently the way to go here is to take your band initials and pan out a funky, hip paste-out.


In order of appearance : ‘Dead Kennedys’ – ‘Foo Fighters’ – ‘Linkin Park’ – ‘Twisted Sister’

Others refuse to use any lettering at all. They make their logo speak for itself. Remarkebly, the logo’s with nuthin’ but sweet artwork, seem to be the ones most capable to reflect a band’s image. In some cases they actually succeed in transcending the image of the band in question and manage to get across the Rock and/or Roll image in general. As is the case for the legendary ‘hot lips’ of Mick Jagger and company. Even if you’ve never heard of ‘The Rolling Stones’ (you’d probably have had to be living on another planet in another solar system for the last 5 decades or so), chances are you will know what the tongue and lips are about … Well, maybe the band reputation did have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it still is the ultimate kick-ass/lips logo if you ask me.

in order of appearance : ‘the Velvet Underground’ – ‘Metallica’- ‘Rush’ – ‘Prince’

4. Don’t just spell out your bandname

No, you can’t spell a logo. You draw a logo! So whatever way you want to go with putting character(s) to your logo, please, whatever your do, don’t just spell out your bandname. Or worse, use a slapdash metalfont. A custom logo comes with a custom type font.

in order of appearance: ‘Thin Lizzy’ – ‘The Who’ – ‘Yes’

5. Avoid the Cliché

The trick here is to make your image instantly recognizable by adding a unique touch to your concept. Meaning you’ll have to avoid the cliché: stay away from skulls, boys and girls. You would think that it looks far out and groovy but it’s really starting to turn into the conventional thing to do. Taking into account that there’s an absolute excess of skull-logo’d bands in the scene, in terms of supply and demand, that means your shares would plummet. And instead of being held back by competitors, you want to create a monopoly.

in order of appearance: -Avenged Sevenfold’ – ‘Grateful Dead’ – ‘Deftones’ – ‘Misfits’ – ‘Dead Daisies’ – Lynyrd Skynyrd’

Now let’s get down to business. You figured out colors and lettering. If you decided to go for initials, you’re permitted to skip this step. But if you want to add a quirky image, stay in your seat, pay attention and you learn.

Think about it. What message do you want to carry out? What’s going to be your heritage to the world? One thing that seems to work well is to try and depict a particular expression of body language using, and this may come as a surprise, one or more human body parts. The benefits of going for a nice piece of the corpus are plenty. One of them being that you’ll probably end up with something simular to an already existing emoticon, you can from then on forward claim. Why go through the trouble of creating your own emoticons when you can randomly pick one, right? That’s a perk you have in comparison to bands who predate the emoji-era. You should take advantage!

in order of appearance : ‘the Rolling Stones’ – ‘Pearl Jam’ – ‘Green Day’

6. Keep it simple

The final touch and reality check. Your brand needs to be tempting but make sure your audiences aren’t tempted to sit down and stare, trying to analyze your logo. The best logo’s contain a balanced combination of simplicity and straightforward out-of-the-box thinking. Not to mention the margin of error is significantly smaller on your fan’s tats. If you manage to get your sh*t together and pull this one off, I promise, you’re gonna go far Kid.

in order of appearance : ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’ – ‘HIM’ – ‘Blue Öyster Cult’ – ‘Black Flag’

7. Stick with it

You finally developed your own logo? Good for you! Now make it grow on you. Don’t be shy and get it out there. Make everyone know you own that sh*t! That’s how you roll! And if I ever in this lifetime, were to be part of a musical ensemble, I’d definitely stick with it. For better or for worse, to love and to cherish. (sigh)

I couldn’t help myself meditating on what my ‘Frequenly Överfed K-9’ logo should have looked like. Going over my own pointers and pitfalls, I came up with something that does indeed resemble an existing emoticon.


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