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21 Iconic Punk Band Logos

04.15.2014

Members of punk rock bands will often state that punk is all about the music…but if you don’t think it has a lot to do with visual imagery, fashion, and artwork, you’d be lying to yourself. Since punk’s inception, bands and labels have prided themselves on coming up with great DIY show flyers and — as the examples below illustrate — iconic and memorable logos. Here are 21 of the best, presented in no particular order.

Descendents

Descendents Milo logo

The classic Descendents logo is a caricature of the band’s bespectacled singer, Milo Aukerman. It originally appeared on the band’s debut full-length, Milo Goes to College, in 1982, and has since appeared on the cover of the majority of the band’s releases. The original illustration was drawn by Jeff Atkinson, and was based on earlier drawings by Milo’s high school classmate Roger Deuerlein.

Misfits

Misfits skull logo

First used by the band on their third vinyl single, 1979′s “Horror Business,” the Misfits‘ infamous skull logo was actually taken by Glenn Danzig from the 1946 serialized film The Crimson Ghost.

Today it is a staple of mall-punk t-shirts, key chains, buttons, bracelets, caps, beaniesguitar picks,baby onesies, bibs, women’s shoes, sneakershigh-heelsmessenger bagssocks, clocks, headphones, shot glasses, Zippo lighterstongue studsUSB flash drives, cell phone cases, CD visors….plus  gloves, coffee mugs, skateboard decks, patches, air fresheners, notebooks, pencils, patches, posters…I can’t keep this up, I’ll never finish…

Husker Du

Husker Du logo

Despite the friction between band members, Husker Du‘s logo symbolizes their unity: the circle represents the band, the horizontal lines are for the three members (Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton), and the vertical line stands for their creative connection.

Germs

Germs logo

During their brief history, the Germs went through a whopping nine drummers. Dan Bolles, however, was by far the longest-tenured, and he also designed the band’s simple logo: a blue circle on a black backdrop, said by some to represent a cigarette burn that vocalist Darby Crash called “the Germs burn,” inflicted on the skin of a fan or a member of the band.

Crass

Crass logo

Anarcho-punks Crass had an ironically militaristic logo, and that, along with their tendency to wear second-hand surplus military uniforms onstage, led some to wrongly accuse the band of fascism. The logo was designed by Dave King, a friend of drummer Penny Rimbaud.

Black Flag

Black Flag bars logo

While the Misfits’ logo is the most reproduced logo of all time, Black Flag‘s simple bars logo is likely the most tattooed. Guitarist Greg Ginn‘s brother,  Raymond Pettibon, designed the distinctive logo (meant to represent a flag waving in the wind), in addition to most Black Flag album cover art.

The bars were inked onto each member of the band, and have been permanently branded on a multitude of fans as well.

Dead Milkmen

Dead Milkmen logo

Drummer Dean Sabatino designed the logo of The Dead Milkmen. Of course, this is a dead cow, so perhaps this would have been a more accurate logo.

Social Distortion

Social Distortion logo

Interestingly, the smoking and boozing skeleton that represents Social Distortion was created by Mackie Osborne, wife of Buzz Osborne of the Melvins. Since 1980, Osborne has created album artwork for many bands, including Circle Jerks, The Vandals, All, Tool, Tricky, Melvins, and many more.

Operation Ivy

Operation Ivy logo

Op Ivy’s logo, commonly known as “Ska Man,” was created by vocalist Jesse Michaels in 1987. It appeared on the cover of the band’s debut EP, Hectic, and on their only full-length LP, Energy, as well as on subsequent compilation releases.

7 Seconds

7 Seconds logo

Front man Kevin Seconds created his long-running band’s logo, which features a slew of intersecting lines, angles, and a numerical “7″ buried in the middle. However, the stenciled band name is much more commonly used.

Bad Religion

Bad Religion cross logo

The famous “Crossbuster” logo was created by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz way back in 1980, when he was 18 years old.

In 2001, in regards to the logo, guitarist Brian Baker stated, “The name Bad Religion and the Crossbuster logo came to pass in the minds of two [teenagers] who were trying to find the most offensive name and image they could possibly find for the punk band they were starting in their garage… These are not people who thought that 21 years later they would be on the telephone doing interviews.”

Fear

Fear logo

Are you not familiar with this Fear logo? You’re not alone. Vocalist Lee Ving created this image in 1978 — but due to the fact that it somewhat resembles a swastika, the band’s stencil/spray paint name logo is what most fans have latched onto.

Pennywise

Pennywise

Speaking of logos that bear resemblance to other symbols, I can’t help but think of Volkswagen when I see the encircled, interlocking “PW.” It was designed in 1991 by Fred Hidalgo, who states, “It was done in one try on a napkin using a Sharpie.” Hidalgo has also created artwork for Bad Religion, The Offspring, and NOFX.

Ramones

Ramones shield logo

The Ramones‘ well-known logo was created by punk rock icon Arturo Vega, who served as the band’s creative designer and lights operator, and later as their archivist. Sadly, Vega passed away in 2013 at the age of 65.

Flipper

Flipper logo

Flipper guitarist Ted Falconi drew the first version of this logo in 1979. It appeared in various iterations on most of the band’s releases, and its simplicity made it a popular choice of taggers in the band’s hometown of San Francisco and beyond.

The Adicts

Adicts logo

Since 1975, The Adicts have adhered to their A Clockwork Orange “Droogs”-inspired style and image. Their logo, designed by guitarist “Pete Dee” Davison, is reflective of that.

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys logo

An interlocking “DK,” or a sideways picnic table? The Dead Kennedys‘ logo was conceptualized by bandleader Jello Biafra and created by artist Winston Smith. According to Biafra, “I wanted to make sure it was something simple and easy to spray-paint so people would graffiti it all over the place.”

Circle Jerks

Circle Jerks skank logo

“Skank Kid” was drawn by artist/cartoonist and punk rock fan Shawn Kerri. Sadly, according to internet lore, Kerri was never compensated for her work, nor did she receive any royalties from the band for their continued use of her creation.

Nirvana

Nirvana smiley face logo

In addition to being a celebrated musician, Kurt Cobain was also a talented visual artist, creating album art for both Nirvana‘s Incesticide and In Utero. He also drew the band’s smiley face logo, which was supposedly inspired by the marquee sign at The Lusty Lady strip club in Seattle.

Naked Aggression

Naked Aggression logo

The original drummer of Naked Aggression, Cyrus Highsmith, designed the band’s logo in 1992. “It’s so simple yet powerfully striking,” says singer Kirsten Patches. “Most corporations would kill to have a logo that eye-catching.”

Minor Threat

Minor Threat black sheep

Minor Threat had a number of iconic logos (such as the Bottled Violence man).  However, it was Cynthia Connolly‘s simple black sheep, featured on the cover of the Out of Step EP, that so perfectly encapsulates the essence of the band.


Click here for 12 Punk Show Flyers from the 1970s

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  • Anonymous Coward

    Nirvana is NOT punk rock….

    • Barry Blocker

      You are absolutely clueless. I guess Mudhoney or Slayer or Social Distortion isn’t punk by your definition, either. You’d change your mind if you saw them, back in the day……

      • Brendan

        Social Distortion was punk.
        you got that one right.
        Slayer?
        Mudhoney?
        uh… no.
        I’m not sure what day you were back in where those bands had anything to do with punk.

        • Barry Blocker

          The fact that your idea of “punk” is so constrained, YOU are the one who is not punk, HA!

          It goes a shitload deeper than the music.

          • Brendan

            You shouldn’t offer comments on something you don’t have any actual experience with and clearly don’t understand.

          • Barry Blocker

            Johhny Cash.
            GG Allin.
            Miles Davis.
            Jaco Pastorius.
            The muthafucking Minutemen.
            Admit it. Your narrow intellect can handle going “out of the box” like that…….Like it or not, there are no rules for what is or is not Punk. Punk is the fucking definition AGAINST that type of thinking. Why do you think the word “Anarchy” became synonymous with the movement??

            Were you at Dead Kennedys/Minor Threat at the Barn? Guess they are not punk either……I grew up going to The Cathay DeGrand/Olympic Auditorium/Fender’s Ballroom, which were punk mecca’s.
            If you think it’s just about the music, you have been reading too many mainstream magazines.

            I can only imagine how long it must take you to “dress up” for a show.

            I feel like I’m reading an old fan column on Maximum RR.

          • Brendan

            Congratulations on going to a few shows over thirty years ago… the same time I was going too, by the way.
            But the HC/punk scene in the early 80′s wasn’t just about the music… it was about a thriving underground subculture…. which many of the bands you listed had nothing whatsoever to do with.

          • humann

            wtf? so this is psych 101 now where all the progenitors were wrong but also still get credit for their “heuristic” value where they spurted on the bands that you really like now. I get it, so convenient. fuck off btw.

            older music sucked and rocked like just modern music. get used to it. be happy when you can intergenerationally appreciate something from outside your own time lock. don’t disparage unless you were there. speaking of being there, the Misfits sucked. prove me wrong.

          • Brendan

            What are you babbling about?
            Your attempt to impress with big words might have been more effective if your reading comprehension was better.

            You suggested I shouldn’t disparage a scene I wasn’t there for, yet you completely missed that I was, in fact, there… and that my argument was that some of the bands the previous poster mentioned had nothing to do with it.

  • Leo Dougherty

    I refuse to recognize Social D. as a top 10 anything. Might as well put green day’s “lettering” up there. :-

    • Damian

      Social D is the definition of rock. They were way ahead of their time and still killing it! Homo

      • Leo Dougherty

        Ha, ha! You have no idea what your talkin about, but o.k. i remember him going to the Rainbow, and BEGGING Malissa Hutton for shots. I may be old, but not a poser, son. Take your “opinion” elsewhere. Dingus. :-D :-D :-D

    • Macy Putnam

      Oh man, have you not ever listened to their albumn Mommy’s Little Monster? Or, are you not “old” enough for that?

  • Zach Luten

    Hey Anonymous Coward, you and the white horse you rode in on can go fuck yourselves. If you don’t think this song is punk then you have no idea what punk rock is. Please carry on being anonymous, cowardly and non-musically inclined. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCGvONbVCa0

    • J.D. Howard

      Dave is the the shit and a beast of a musician. Nirvana sucked ass.

    • fuckyou

      Nirvana is not punk. They are the god fathers and founders of grunge music.

      • Zach Luten

        Look you can mentally masturbate over the categorization of useless terms like punk all day. Alice in Chains and The Melvins were making Grunge before Nirvana was even a band. In the 80′s Dave Grohl was in a DC Hardcore punk band named Scream while Kurt Cobain’s favorite self admitted albums are Raw Power by Iggy Pop and The Stooges along with My War by Black Flag. Nirvana is even featured in the documentary “1991: The Year Punk Broke” with The Ramones and Sonic Youth. You and every pseudo-intellectual can take your punk rock rule book and shove it up your asses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991:_The_Year_Punk_Broke

        • RussBurlingame

          “You and every pseudo-intellectual can take your punk rock rule book and shove it up your asses.”

          That’s so punk.

          • Lord-Alfie Fagin Wright

            can we please all just stop giving a shit? cheers

      • RDPS

        Grunge is an offshoot of punk…

  • Robb Karstetter

    Screeching Weasel?

  • Adam Rayfield

    Wow kids relax, if punk is an attitude and a way of life (DIY) Nirvana sure was so relax.
    Also any one who says Social D is not punk needs to get schooled.
    Watch ANOTHER STATE OF MIND and talk to me about it.
    Mike Ness is as punk as it comes!!!

  • NoNo99

    No DRI guy or Big Boys “A” ??

    • spikebat

      Exactly….where’s the skanker man?

  • RDPS

    Flipper? Where is Conflict?

  • Marc Frask

    What the $%^ really no ST, Agent Orange or THE FUCKING BADBRAINS really!

  • Jeanna Malines

    How the hell was DRI left out????

  • A.j. Mule Cmc Watson

    Any punk list without D.R.I. Is irrelevant and a fail..

  • Guest

    what about blink-182 logo ??

  • ShreStha SatShree

    what about blink-182 logo ??