Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Art of Punk: The Logos of Punk

It’s not essential to have a ‘logo’ as a punk band – whether it be image or typographic-based. But there is no denying that some bands are recognisable from their logo alone, without even hearing their music. Sadly, this also means that iconic band logos adorn t-shirts all over the world and are worn by people who haven’t even heard the music (a pet hate of mine) – eg. The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana etc. However, this isn’t the case for all band logos and certainly not most punk band logos. They are most often worn with pride on t-shirts and other merchandise, as well as being inked into the skin of diehard fans. Of course, a great logo doesn’t make a great band… but maybe it helps a little bit.

There are two definitive kinds of band logos: image-based logos that stand alone as an icon to represent the band, whether accompanied by their name or not, and more typographic-based logos. I think the latter has become more popular in recent years with a band choosing and sticking to the same font or lettering style from their first record through to posters, merchandise and the next album! Personally I really like it when a selection of albums by the same artist have that typographic consistency – but then I am a type-geek!

Here are some classic examples of standalone image-based logos. They are probably the kinds of logos that you are most likely to see tattooed onto the skin of fans. I think you might recognise some of them!


Well, actually there are image and text-based logos as well. Plus logos that use initials from the artist’s name very visually. For example…

And some, mostly more modern, typographic logos…

These are just a small selection of the logos in punk rock – and I may have been a little bias in picking those that I like! I’m sure you’ll have plenty favourites yourself.

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