No matter the endeavor, designing a great logo is the first step towards successful branding, and music bands are no exception. The right logo will grab your audience’s attention, make a strong first impression, and separate you from the competition.
No doubt, having a logo is an integral part of making your band successful–right up there with having killer tracks and a loyal fan base.
Bands have always relied on powerful design to help market themselves to their audience. A great logo can help turn a first-time listener into a die-hard groupie. Logos display the emotional motivations driving the brand by connecting the art of design with the art of music.
If you have a band and are looking to take it to the next level, designing a logo is your first step. Start by checking out some band logo ideas and understanding the best practices in the industry. It's also a good idea to look at some of the greatest band logos in recent history. You’ll notice they all are instantly recognizable, bold, and unique.
Here are eight kickass metal band logos that have influenced music forever.
This iconic hard rock and heavy metal band is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. The band was started in 1973 by two brothers (Malcolm and Angus Young). Their name came from the initials "AC/DC" on their sister's sewing machine, standing for "alternating current/direct current." The brothers decided this name was a good representation of the band's charged performances and raw energy.
In 1980, the band released their huge hit Highway to Hell. They call themselves "a rock and roll band, nothing more, nothing less." However, their minimalist style with bludgeoning power chords and forceful vocals left an impression that defined the 70's hard rock scene. This minimalistic style is mirrored in the classic AC/DC band logo.
The band's logo has been one of the most adored logos of all time. While it switched styles three times in the first three years of creation, the current design has been around since 1977. A high voltage symbol (lightning bolt) is placed in the center of the hand-crafted Gothic lettering, replacing the slash in the logo.
Popping up in 1975, Iron Maiden were pioneers in the new wave of British heavy metal. The band has sold over 100 million album copies worldwide and is so popular their logo is considered synonymous with the music genre for some people. Their seventeenth album Senjutsu reached No. 1 in 23 countries.
The iconic logo has gone through very minimal changes since it was first created. In 1977 it was In 1998, the band dropped the sharp edges dropping down from the R, N, M and N in the logo.
However, by 2015, they picked the edgy font back up and darkened the red color slightly. Everything else has stayed the same with an iconic font in red, outlined in white and black that represents the attitude and hard-edge style of the band.
This American heavy metal band was started in 1981 and is another staple in the metal music genre. They've sold over 125 million copies worldwide with 14 albums. The band has won nine Grammy Awards and was ranked in the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by Rolling Stone.
Metallica started as a founder of thrash metal, along with Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth. However, they gained mainstream acceptance, going commercial with their third album. Their most recent release was Hardwired…to Self-Destruct from 2016.
The band's logo has remained the same since the initial design in 1981. The edgy "M" and "A" are created with lightning bolt lines reflecting away from the name. A blocky slab serif font makes up the rest of the band's name encased by the two decorative logos.
The simple style fits the humble roots of the cultish niche band but stood up to the test of time as the band progressed into the limelight. As a monochromatic logo, it evokes power and a bold attitude that matches the mood of the band.
Perhaps nothing is a better image of the heavy metal genre than the illustrated Death logo. The band responsible for the grungy logo was started in 1984 and became one of the most influential bands in heavy metal. They were a pioneering force in death metal, which is an extreme subgenre of the music style. Their first album was titled Scream Bloody Goreand is widely considered one of the first-ever death metal records.
The logo for Death shows a highly styled font with angled lettering and plenty of symbolism. Pictured within the logo are a spiderweb, spider, scythe, upside-down cross, flames, blood and a skull that later turned into a dying (or dead) figurehead. The letters take on a form of irreverent symbols, like the half pentagram or the sigma letter representing the E in the band's name.
The logo is done in black, white and red, though many versions are just black and white. The red was specifically used for Scream Bloody Gore in 1987. The aggressive and detailed logo is a clear representation of what the band stood for, making it the perfect emblem for Death.
Lamb of God
This heavy metal band is well-known for hard-hitting albums like Burn the Priest (1999) and Sacrament (2006). Started in 1994, this group was part of the new wave of American heavy metal bands. With ten studio albums, the band sold over 68,000 copies of their fifth album Wrath in 2009.
Lamb of God has toured with Ozzfest twice and been featured in many other festivals. From 2008 to 2010, they were part of the World Magnetic Tour with Metallica before touring with Slayer in 2018-2019.
The logo for Lamb of God is extremely simple. Using all lowercase serif letters, the name takes on an irreverent look. The logo is made visually interesting with the "of" word smaller and underlined. All of the letters also carry a kind of papyrus-like texture that makes them look slightly old and innocent.
The undertone of the design has an edgy, but unassuming nature. In a simple black and white color scheme, the logo questions innocence, purity, violence and power. While extremely simple in nature, the logo is hard to forget and has left a lasting mark on the genre.
This NYC heavy metal band is a leader in the thrash metal scene, considered a founder alongside Metallica, Slayer and Megadeath. Starting in 1981, the band released 11 albums, including a collaboration with the hip hop group Public Enemy.
Overall, Anthrax has sold over 2.5 million records in the US, along with more than 10 million worldwide album sales. The band continues to release albums, with a promised album likely to drop in 2022.
The logo for Anthrax is very stylized, with letters carefully overlapping and lining up to form an emblem. The "N" and "T" of the name create an interesting point, while the "RAX" are the only letters to collide. The top of the "T" takes up enough space it cuts across the top of the "N" and "H" on either side.
With a modern and aggressive appearance, the Anthrax logo is further simplified by being strictly black and white. In 1993, the logo took a dive into bright yellow-to-red gradients that spanned the lettering and were encased in a black background. However, the band returned to the initial black and white version in 2011.
Formed in Birmingham, England, Judas Priest was started in 1969 as a heavy metal band. They have now sold over 50 million album copies as a staple of the genre. The band is responsible for using the leather, spikes and other fashion taboos that influenced the glam metal era.
In 2010 the band won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. They have music featured in video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. They took an Epitaph World Tour in 2010-2011 but went on to release more albums. They have an upcoming 19th album that has been pushed back to 2022 because of COVID-19.
The logo of this longstanding band started as an extremely simple font with lines for texture along the left side. By 1976, the logo had taken on a Middle-Ages-era calligraphic font that fit the name and band perfectly. Eventually, the logo took another dive into a slanted font with a "Devil's tuning fork" illustration.
It might be hard to name a more iconic individual that influenced metal more than Ozzy Osbourne. The English singer and songwriter was lead vocalist for the band Black Sabbath in the '70s, earning the nickname "Prince of Darkness."
He went on to release 12 studio albums on his own, with the first seven earning multi-platinum certifications. His solo work combined with Black Sabbath albums have compiled over 100 million sales worldwide.
His logo uses a sans serif font with a broken horizontal line going through the middle parts of the letters "O," "z," "y" and "u." This partial strikethrough helps carry the eye across the letters and adds interesting details. Additionally, a shadow is used to help pop the white letters from the white background.
Successful Metal Band Logo Design
These hard-hitting logos aren't over the top (aside from Death), but they still offer a memorable design. You can see how much impact comes from something as simple as a change of font. With the right balance of color and text elements, the logos hit the right notes for each legendary metal band listed.
There’s a reason great band logos hold so much nostalgia; a powerful logo design reminds fans of the music and shows they've attended. Logos are frequently used on t-shirts, stickers, cases, hats and so much more.
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