Music: it’s all about sounding great. But don’t forget, you’ve gotta look cool, too. Whether you’ve got a business or a band, you need to find a logo that rocks.
So listen up. From vintage to modern, we’ve got six styles of logos to inspire that musical mind of yours. Let’s take a look at what it takes to make a logo that will bring music to your ears!
Psychedelic sounds logos
In 1969, Woodstock, one of the first major music festivals, took place in upstate New York, and masses of people gathered to celebrate peace and love. All of the artwork from this era—posters, album covers and fashion—came with an aesthetic that included bright and colorful melting shapes, dripping letterforms and a psychedelic appearance that has inspired designers around the world ever since.
Today, music festivals are happening everywhere, and many of them stay connected to their psychedelic origins. Take the 2016 Bonnaroo logo, for example. We can see and feel that hippie era “free love” breathing through the animals and typography rendered in the design. The rabbit’s eyes look like those of an alien, while the unicorn looks like it’s warping out of a liquid. This same fluid-like “goo” runs through the letterforms and creates the impression that they are flowing through a trippy world. The overall color-scheme is slightly odd, containing uncommon or tertiary colors. All of these elements culminate into what one could describe as an invitation to a psychedelic vision quest.
Not all psychedelic designs need to be as intricate or involved. Flow festival creates a more contemporary version of psychedelia with photographic ink splashes over a geometric design that create a different sense of otherworldliness. You can invoke a subtle psychedelic feel into your logo by using stylized lettering, colors and patterns, and parring them back or pairing them with more modern elements.
Fun, modern pop logos
Just like music is for everyone, friendly-looking graphic design spans all types of businesses, events and organizations. With bright colors, eye-pleasing shapes, and playful typography, these logos create an accessible vibe for your music school, studio or band. Some visual design elements to consider include the playful integration of instruments or musical iconography, “bubbly” lines and thick strokes.
Ahmatron, a company offering music for advertising and broadcast, uses a logo with a cheery robot playing a stringed instrument and letterforms reminiscent of 1950’s toy advertising. The result is cute and playful (especially that little lightning bolt to create the negative space within the “O”) with a message that is inviting and friendly. Check out how the Sofar Festival logo uses a similar recipe of cartoon-like illustration and playful typography.
Tough and bad-ass logos
Be it metal-heads, grunge-rockers or “outlaw” country, the music industry will always have a place for bad-ass characters. Over time, designers have found a variety of techniques to illustrate that bold image. This can include the use of well-worn and distressed textures to create impressions of musical artists who have “been around the block” more than a few times. Alternatively, some musicians and production companies create their edgy reputations with the use of visually sharp edges and points in their letterforms or iconography (Metallica being the quintessential examples of this).
via Logo Database
Sound and instrumental icons
Like all industries, the music world has it’s fair share of traditional companies and organizations that need to present a sense of professionalism in their branding. One common technique is to combine a musical element with formal typography. Even better if you can use a common industry image—like a microphone or piano—and transform it into something clever or unique.
In the newsic logo, a microphone cleverly fills the negative space of the “n” and also matches the modern typeface and muted color palette. In this way, the logo achieves professionalism with elegance and success.
The Music Box, a restaurant, also uses a microphone in a “stamp” style logo with a other illustrative elements. Alternatively, the Track Tribe and Solipsistic logos combine headphones and radio signals with globes, a common symbol for broadcast media.
Geometric and technological
Music is intrinsically tied to math and geometry, making the two a perfect pairing. Additionally, the digital age has brought a new face to the world of music. Electronic sounds fill our world more than ever before and it’s come with a particular design aesthetic as well. Whether you are actually a digital music producer, or want to embrace the more structure side of musical composition, consider using a geometric logo to make your band or business feel professional and modern.
DJ/producer Flying Lotus was one of the first to embrace digital technology in his live performance beginning as early as 2006. His logo reflects this with its perfect, geometric shapes that almost abandon legibility. The negative space in the “O” is like an angled pixel, while the half-“T” feels like a computer glitch. Designers and artists have imitated this style ever since.
DJ Tom Boye makes a similar use of geometry and negative space. The Univael logo showcases more incomplete or “glitched” letter-forms and takes geometry into the third dimension with its broken, off-blue pyramid.
Classic rock logos
Let’s not forget the classics. These logos don’t share a design theme, but they are unforgettable and reflect the cultures and times that they came from. The Rolling Stones, for example, rose to fame in a time that artists were pushing the limits of what people accepted in regard to public sexuality. Naturally, their logo depicts a provocative image: a “licking” tongue coming out of hot red lips.
The Doors, who existed around the same time, drew from poster typography of the era: a combination of art nouveau-inspired psychedelic calligraphy and bold, geometric shapes.
Meanwhile, Gorillaz formed in the late 90’s around the time artists like Gang Starr and Wu-Tang were bringing hip-hop further into the public spotlight than ever before. Gorillaz chose to use a graffiti style logo to match their hip-hop style.
Fast forward and we can see that logos like Tenderfoot Records take a different approach to “classic.” In our high-paced DIY digital culture, the time required to establish a legendary status (like the Rolling Stones) simply doesn’t exist. Tenderfoot Records attempts to go classic with fonts and lettering styles from past eras and a faded texture. While this design doesn’t quite hold the visceral impact of The Doors or The Rolling Stones (or the awesome memories), these design techniques speak to a demographic that just “gets” what those times were all about.
Ready to rock?
From cool, clean and modern to acid-tripping psychedelic, you’ve got a full symphony of options to create a logo that strikes just the right chord with your audience. Now get out there and jam!