The inspiration for this article came from the fact that Shepard Fairey redesigned the old Rolling Stones logo a week or so ago, to commemorate the band’s 50th anniversary. As I stood there and looked at how the weirdly combined typography of the new logo actually looked pretty good, I couldn’t stop to think – what would be if there never was a Rolling Stones logo? Or, for example, if the thunder type of AC/DC or Metallica weren’t widely seen as symbols of a way of life on all those teens’ t-shirts?
The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary logo. There is also a website with various interpretations of the logo from designers around the world, while Suntory released a limited edition anniversary whiskey, with the bottle featuring the iconic logo.
As the logo is the starting point of any brand’s visual identity, branding a product is not making it look a certain way, yet making a certain feeling out of it, or, by consuming it, making it a way of life, a choice, a representation of yourself. A story. A statement. Knowing this, you can’t deny that a band logo like the one the Rolling Stones has wasn’t/isn’t just that. It symbolizes – to this day – a way of life; Everything they felt, they sang, they stood for. Everything you felt, you stood for, you sang along with them. And what if that symbol never existed?
Looking at other famous band logos, few of them say so much in so little like the Rolling Stones logo. The only symbol in music that has the same sense as the above mentioned logo – and that I could think of – is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover.
Although it’s not a logo literally, through the years it became a widely recognized symbol of Pink Floyd, thus making it not far away from a logo itself. Don’t get me wrong – these were the only two I could think of. If you can think of any other, please do share.
Browsing through symbols of famous bands I see a wide variety of logos, but I think most of them don’t have the potential to be a symbol of a state of mind, a real brand, like the Stones. Is this because of the logos themselves; Should they include more of a story then just certain type or pictograms? Or is it because the music industry just, well, ain’t what it used to be?
I think we all know that it ain’t, but then another question rises – why?
The obvious answer is that there isn’t that much of a demand for a “state-of-mind” band that would unite people in a mutual, well, state of mind. At the expense of sounding like a grumpy senior, I have to state that most of today’s music is pretty much the same old thing over and over again, no soul, no heart, no quality. The bands/singers are brands, and they are storytelling, but are they really what they used to be? Or is it just that the grass is always greener, culturally, in past times? Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris explores this thought quite well.
Or maybe we are overwhelmed with the music industry working like never before, constantly throwing new (yet same?) music to us? As one of our authors writes, nobody really listens to music anymore. That’s where, theoretically, the lack of branding in music comes from today, if there, theoretically was one. We can’t see a true feeling or meaning of a band anymore, because, the feeling/meaning, thus the brand – does not exist in our musically-overwhelmed world.