Sure, musicians are most well-known for their, um … music. But have you ever stopped to think about how a logo really captures a musician’s work and personality? Think about classic, instantly-recognizable band logos like The Rolling Stone’s bright red tongue and lips. Or the Metallica logo that so many metal heads still doodle in their notebooks to this day. Band logos are what get plastered on the T-shirts, stickers, and posters that any artist’s fans proudly display.
In general, there are three kinds of logos: wordmark, graphic + wordmark, and brandmark. Wordmark logos consist only of words, whereas brandmark logos consist of only a graphic. Other logos are in the middle, combining words and graphics.
As you’ll see in this list, most popular musicians go with a wordmark logo, but there are a few standout graphic + wordmark logos, and there’s even one brandmark logo on the list! So without further ado, let’s take a look at how 10 of last year’s chart-toppers used typefaces, type treatments, and artful design to make their logos sing.
It seems much more obvious when it’s written out, but I didn’t know until recently that Flo Rida’s name comes from the word “Florida.” If you were in that boat too, until now, then this logo is about to make a lot more sense. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at the type treatment. Flo Rida’s logo creatively uses the stem of the “F” to create the shape of Florida. The chrome, metallic type treatment paired with the stencil-esque font fit the hip-hop genre perfectly, and the drop shadows and 3-D treatments make the logo more dynamic.
Fun. is an indie band turned pop sensation that’s very recently been flung into the spotlight. No matter how popular they get, they still can’t drop their indie roots. With a band name like “Fun.” you might expect a loud, exuberant logo, but of course being the hipsters they are, they had to go with a minimalist logo. (Oh, you hipsters and your “irony.”) As simple as this logo may be, the bold sans serif typeface paired with the tight kerning (the space between each letter) still make for a dynamic design that makes a loud statement, just like “Fun.”
Here’s that brandmark logo I mentioned earlier. I guess when you’re one of the world’s most popular boy bands you’re qualified as popular enough for one of these graphic-only logos. Hate on One Direction all you want, but that artfully crafted “D”is pretty clever. See how the inside is an arrow pointing in one direction? I see what you did there, 1D. One Directioners are not shy about their love for this boy band, and you’ll see this logo proudly plastered all over their One Direction branded merchandise.
Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons are the indie folk band responsible for hits like “Little Lion Man” and “Babel.” You’d probably recognize them as one of the only bands in the Top 40 that features a banjo. Their logo is nothing short of the down-home feeling that Mumford & Sons projects in all of their music. This simple, italic, serif font is equal parts sophisticated, classic, and laid back.
Since Katy Perry is pretty much the epitome of Bubblegum Pop, it’s only fitting that her girly, loopy logo looks as sweet as candy. White highlights give the logo’s design dimension while gradients from light pink to red make the typeface look practically edible.
LMFAO may have broken up this past year, but their party rockin’ and their logo will live on. Just as loud and obnoxious as this duo, this yellow and purple logo really reflects their personality. The graphic portion of the logo features caricatures of Redfoo and Skyblue – highlighting Redfoo’s famous (or infamous) afro.
Taylor Swift recently gave her logo a complete overhaul with the release of her latest album, “Red.” But up until this latest album, which is decidedly much more Pop than Country, she used this cute script as her logo. Back when she was still an adorable country singer, this logo totally made sense. The loopy ascenders and descenders (the top of the “l” and the bottom of the “y”) paired with the whimsical “S” make this a girly font that helps Taylor Swift portray her “girl next door” image.
Dubstep is a pretty polarizing genre, so I won’t get into that at all. All you need to know is that Skrillex is a dubstep artist – and whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he has a pretty sweet logo. Inspired by the modern, futuristic, loud sounds of dubstep, Skrillex has a bold, shiny, metallic logo.
Over the summer you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He’s got a logo that’s just as catchy and infectious as his music. This hand-written font’s long, loopy “g” and “y” give Gotye’s logo movement and a folk-y feeling.
Pink has always been known as the edgy, “rocker chick.” That’s why her graffiti-inspired logo design fits. While there have been a few newer versions of this logo, the vibe remains the same. The creative use of an exclamation point instead of an “i” in her name packs the extra punch that Pink always delivers. And of course, the logo is styled in a bright pink color – we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s very interesting how even simple wordmark logos can say so much about an artist (or brand). As you can see, font choices go a long way in expressing style, character, and personality. By examining the design of some modern musician’s logos, hopefully you can pull away some inspiration, tips, and tricks for designing your own logo.
What do you think? Which of these logos is your favorite? Can you think of any other creative modern band logos? Sound off in the comments below!