21 of the Best Band Logos to Inspire Your Own
Whether we stream music on Spotify or Tidal, tune into a radio show on SoundCloud, watch clips on YouTube or share songs from a live show on Instagram, the way we use technology to engage with music has changed dramatically—and continually—since the early 2000s. Today, music streaming makes up 84% of the U.S. music industry revenue. Kings of Leon was the first band to release a digital NFT album in 2021. And TikTok has taken over the charts, giving artists fresh opportunities to expose their sound and reach new audiences.
While the music industry continues to evolve and the possibilities to grow are endless, some things never change. Having a clearly defined brand identity for your band including a distinct band logo is one of the best branding assets you can have, even in the new digital era.
Using a free logo maker to create a band logo is a great way to pin down your visual aesthetic so you can focus on your music, rather than the design. Here we gathered some of the best band logos, plus a few helpful tips to inspire your own.
Why band logos matter
Being serious about your music career means leveling up your marketing and branding efforts, including a strong band logo. A band logo sets the tone for the first impression and subsequent feelings associated with it. A band logo serves as a symbol that represents not only your band’s music, but ideals, values and overall emotion.
People adopt logos to signal their allegiance to a specific tribe, cause or belief. For example, the cult-like nature of the Grateful Dead's Dancing Bears or Dave Matthews Bands' Fire Dancer. Your band logo needs to be visually appealing and representative of your band, so it can be worn proudly. With this in mind, you want your fans to proudly rock your branded t-shirt or slap your band sticker on their laptop. In addition, it can serve to link fans or build community as an expression of fandom.
Whether it appears on your album covers, online playlists, press kit labels, social channels, branded merch or even the vinyl decal covering your bass drum, your band logo needs to instantly embody your music and get your audience’s attention. Even thinking outside the box, like Arcade Fire, who used cryptic postcards sent to fans using their band logo—effectively piquing curiosity and creating buzz with the use of a simple symbol. Looking for more inspiration? Check out these band logo ideas to get started.
21 of the best band logos
One of the most iconic and famous logos of all time, the Rolling Stones symbol is a must on our list. Designed in 1971 by John Pasche, the logo has withstood the test of time, just like band members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Bold, red and slightly provocative, the “tongue and lips” logo was first based on Kali, the Hindu goddess of death, time, and doomsday and her unmistakable stuck out tongue and bright red lips. This band logo instantly symbolizes the band’s gritty sound and unmistakable stage presence. In 2021, the emblematic logo was changed to black to memorialize drummer Charlie Watts, and used across all the band's merchandise and branding to commemorate their world tour. In addition, the band logo recently underwent another trippy redesign to celebrate the band’s 60th anniversary, showcasing a new psychedelic color palette.
Considered the foundation of “new school” rap, Run DMC’s music is fearless, in your face and unmistakably their own. It’s clear that their logo is representative of their sound and their ideals. This wordmark band logo is uncomplicated and balanced, created by two stacked sets of chunk letters in Franklin Gothic typeface sandwiched between two heavy red lines. This bold logo is not just an icon for the band, but embodies an entire era, representing a generation of hip-hop that continues to be respected today.
Unlike the bold logo in our previous example, Daft Punk’s band logo is much more subdued. Given that the premise of the band’s identity is built upon anonymity, it’s understandable that their logo also takes somewhat of a backseat to their musical styling. While the personal identities of the duo’s band were never secret, they were known for their iconic helmets and never revealing their face. It was only upon the Parisian duo’s break up that they officially removed their helmets to reveal their faces.
Daft Punk’s brand logo feels almost intentionally askew. The use of handwritten typography evokes a sense of authenticity, but also anonymity, channeling a graffiti feel. In addition, the logo appears in a range of colors, even adding a 3D ink quality to some versions, which highlights the band’s constant artistic evolution.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Originally hand drawn by Red Hot Chili Pepper frontman Anthony Kiedis on a whim, this symbol has gone on to become one of the best band logos of all time. Kiedis sketched an 8-pronged asterisk, which at the time he said was meaningless. Although this was not his intention, the asterisk also denotes omitted information, censorship (like sh*t) or *emphasis*—all fitting characteristics of the band's outsider style. While the logo’s origin may have lacked meaning, today both he and guitarist John Frusciante have the symbol tattooed on their wrists. Check out the full story behind the band logo and Kiedis’s revelation about the asterisk’s true meaning.
Even if you've never heard AC/DC's sharp, loud, and in your face music, chances are you can picture their similarly evocative logo. The Australian rock band uses a lightning bolt icon, symbolizing power, dominance and energy—setting the tone for their hard rock style.
Nirvana’s logo—the quintessentially grunge combination mark pairing large, thick text with a hand drawn doodle of a smiley face with two x eyes. It’s believed that the drawing was created by lead singer Kurt Cobain, but there is an ongoing legal dispute about the smiley’s origin. The smiley’s asymmetrical, intentionally-flawed design feels humanistic, balancing out the boldness of the font. It’s asymmetrical and intentionally flawed. And with the resurgence of Hot Topic becoming a fav among Gen Z, it’s safe to say this iconically ‘90s logo will live on branded merch for many generations to come.
The public knows Swedish pop group ABBA for their distinct music, iconic fashion and their very public relationship failures. ABBA’s logo exemplifies the brand’s refined, yet playful essence: Two pairs of letters A and B represent the two couples that make up the group—with a backwards ᗺ adding a break in the otherwise uniform layout. The palindromic logo can be read from either direction. Using letters in creative and unexpected ways is a logo design tip that helps you stand out in your audience’s minds.
When you think of the Wu-Tang Clan, you might instantly think of two hands forming the letter W. It’s no coincidence that their band logo carries the same motif, reflecting the group’s clan-like tightness and music ideals. This memorable and eye-catching symbol may be interpreted as an abstract logo to some, but others clearly see the letter W or a bird. Using a strong logo color combination of yellow and black, the Wu-Tang Clan’s band emblem features a text overlay that cleverly cuts the design’s layout.
Queen’s traditional emblem, one of the oldest types of logos and brand marks. Queen’s logo contains more details than other bands on this list and features zodiac signs, flames, and the letter Q. Individually, these elements symbolize an important part of the band story, but together they compose a design that emulates a monarchy-style crest. Designed by Freddie Mercury himself, this effectively nods to the band’s royal name.
Logo shapes convey unique meanings or evoke specific responses. Triangles, for example, can mean wisdom or strength, and depending on their direction they can represent different ideals from fertility to the Deity symbol of the Eye of Providence. In the case of Alt J’s band logo, the triangle represents the letter A in the band’s name—but it also symbolizes the delta sign ∆, made by clicking the alt and J buttons on a keyboard. The indie rock band displays its clever persona through integrating the triangle in several design compositions and iterations of their band logo. Creating custom letters or integrating shapes within text is a versatile and eye-catching logo design idea.
The electronic music duo known for their unique sound and remixing skills, also has a distinct band logo, taking a universal symbol and repurposing it to create a new meaning. In a Stoney Road’s interview, band member Xavier de Rosnay said, “We really liked heavy-metal and rock style logo design, and we wanted to design the Justice logo in a similar way. We kept using [the letter T, represented by a cross] in all our artworks, and it just never left.” The logo is so synonymous with the band that when Justin Beiber announced an album called “Justice,” the duo sent him a cease-and-desist, claiming that the singer infringed on the band's trademark.
Known to millions of fans, the BTS logo uses geometric shapes at unique angles to create a three-dimensional effect. The meaning for the boy band is multidimensional, too: Looking at it like a butterfly, there’s a sense of movement. But it could depict open windows, symbolizing the influence the Korean septet brought to western pop culture. Or even doors, like the opportunities the group received as one of the top-selling acts in the world last year. Regardless of what meaning each fan derives, millions of them sport the same logo in a range of colors, and on a diverse collection of merchandise, including the latest BTS collectible, Premium BTS Logo: Seoul Edition.
NSYNC's logo epitomizes the Y2K boy band aesthetic, featuring a pastel color and an easy-to-recall all caps font, punctuated with the universal symbol of a star. While novel and attention-grabbing back then, this style is now making the rounds as a nostalgic logo trend. For example, in Pixar's "Turning Red," the fictional boy-band 4*Town sports a similar design.
Polo and Pan
This contagious and upbeat electric duo produces an eclectic, global sound. Their spirited musical style is mirrored in their brightly colored album covers, music videos and, of course, their logo. Polo and Pan’s retro logo evokes mid-century exotica stylings, perfectly embodying the band’s bright aesthetic and ethereal sounds.
The Eurovision song winners from Italy catapulted into the music scene in 2021, claiming a Top 200 spot on Spotify, making their American debut on SNL and even catching the ear of iconic music producer Mark Ronson. Just like how their music packages old soul rock in a fresh modern take, the Maneskin logo takes strong inspiration from the graffiti world to create something familiar, yet new.
Led by the infamous party rockers Redfoo and SkyBlu, LMFAO has a distinct sound and logo to match. This playful band logo clearly puts the emphasis on themselves and their bigger-than-life musical personas, selling not only their boundary-pushing, humorous music but creating an entire musical experience. Although they went on hiatus in 2012, creating speculation around a break-up, the band is still very much together and hasn’t fully disappeared. Whether they produce new music in the future or not, their band logo is a great example of an effective design that perfectly represents the sound.
The Radiohead band logo has gone through several iterations over the years since the band’s inception in 1992. Perhaps the most iconic and memorable is the “modified bear” icon that was first seen in 2000. This geometric bear emblem became a symbol for the band and has continued to appear in their branding today. Even as the band’s aesthetic evolved through typography and kerning changes, the modified bear has endured. This quirky, hard-to-miss symbol is instantly recognizable, and creates unity among Radiohead fans around the world. It exudes the ultimate street style mood, a certain je ne sais quoi grunginess that possibly inspired other fashion trends like Balenciaga’s collab with video game fashion.
Every time Kevin Parker puts out a new album with trippy, psychedelic Tame Impala, he uses it as a clean slate to update the look and feel of the band’s identity. In general, it is recommended that brands only update or refresh their logo every five years; however, as a band’s music evolves with every new release, so can their logo. Tame Impala organically incorporates this idea, changing their logo to reflect the band’s new sound iteration—and fans anticipate the change and look forward to collecting Tame Impala’s latest merch.
Formed by sisters Alana, Danielle and Este Haim, the band is a staple of the indie-music circuit. With their recent video collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson, their videos join the company of Fiona Apple, Radiohead and his latest Oscar-nominated comedy Licorice Pizza. Like their music, Haim’s band logo brings a modern twist to the ‘70’s hippie feel. The typography is connected, with each letter bleeding into the other, creating a sense of movement. It almost looks like notes written on sheet music, with the lines behind tying them all together. This band logo also has a softness to it, perfectly matching the famous sisters style and sound.
A solid, clean design, the XX logo is an example of an effective minimalist logo. Their band logo uses the gestalt principle of similarity, which creates a sense of connectivity. Whether it is through the use of color, font, size, or texture—the XX logo uses the common X characteristic in every version of their logo to weave a common thread. Using the technique of masking, the practice of using a mask to protect a specific area of an image (think masking tape blocking off paint), the X logo appears in a range of contexts, sometimes even using an embossed approach to create a three-dimensional quality. Not to mention, it impeccably reinforces the band’s name.
Looking to create an unforgettable band name? Check out our band name generator to get you started.
Here is another band that playfully uses their name in their logo design. Rumored to be named after a childhood tale of a deadly fire, Arcade Fire triggers a certain sense of nostalgia for youthful carelessness. Using symmetry and negative space, their logo captures a bustling, carnival-like aesthetic, imbued with a sense of melancholy and longing. It perfectly encapsulates the grandiose orchestration of their indie baroque music.
Band logo design tips
Now that you’re ready to design a logo for your band, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.
1. Consider your logo colors
Just as specific music notes evoke certain feelings in harmony, so can certain logo color combinations. Take logo psychology into consideration as you map out your design and try testing different colors to see what feeling it stirs. For example, are you channeling a dream pop shoegaze sound? Try soft pinks, warm purples and other ethereal hues characterized by lightness and intangibility. Looking to become the next grunge sensation? Explore muted palettes with muddy earth tones, mellow neutrals and bold black.
2. Let the music genre influence your design
The music we listen to can directly affect our mood. Soothing jazz, boomy deep house or energizing indie pop each have their own unique look and feel. Let the specific genre of your music guide your design decisions to easily and effectively communicate with your audience. It will also lead you to an authentic and meaningful brand identity and experience.
3. Make it easy to recall
The easier it is for people to recognize and describe your band logo, the better. Similar to describing a memorable song or tune, a good logo should be catchy and memorable.
4. Ensure it looks good at any size
Paying attention to logo size is important for consistency and ensuring that your band logo is always clear and recognizable, whether it appears online on your music website or social channels, offline on merchandise, tattooed onto a fan’s arm or plastered on a billboard or musical festival line up. Check out some of the best logos from all industries that work in a variety of contexts.
By Kylie Goldstein
Branding Expert and Marketing Blogger