Logos once seemed a necessary component of a band’s public persona. To read the name Led Zeppelin is to see it written in the logo’s tall typeface (which, later, would be sort of co-opted by American Horror Story). To hear The Rolling Stones is to visualize that luscious mouth with its tongue hanging out. And who can think of The Grateful Dead without that lightning bolt skull striking their own head?
Maybe it’s an attention span thing, or a constant shifting of identities thing, but not many artists these days settle on one logo. They might have their name consistently written in a sparse, all-caps, sans serif font like Lorde or Sam Smith, or they might do little typographic flairs like smushing a double O in their name into a Venn diagram shape á la Broods or Maroon 5 (but how can you see that without thinking of Mastercard?). Katy Perry and Lady Gaga keep a consistent typeface for each album or tour but generally shed it when the time comes to adopt a new character — Teenage Dream‘s “Katy Perry” was bubbly and ribbony, but Prism‘s “Katy Perry” is all trendy triangles, as used by any self-respecting electronic artist.
But some new (and a couple of old) artists have come up with a simple logo and stuck with it, and we want to applaud these folks for both their consistency in branding and their cool aesthetic. The ethereal singer Banks, for instance, has a funky typeface that looks like crop circles designed by a hipster alien. You’ll notice the list is skewed toward electronic pop — might this be because they understand the importance of keeping album art consistent when releasing singles on various blogs and streaming sites? You might also notice a prevalence of triangles. That, we can’t explain, but they look nice anyway.
Banks has the best logo on this list. I like it so much that I occasionally daydream about tattooing it on my body, despite the fact that “Banks” is not my name and I don’t consider myself a rabid enough fan of any artist to tattoo their name on me.
I noticed Clean Bandit’s logo in the video for “Rather Be,” as the pattern of the shapes is cleverly dispersed within different shots. It’s a very 2010s aesthetic, which will reoccur frequently throughout this list.
More triangles from singer-and-two-DJ trio Basecamp. This one is neat because a lot of people in Brooklyn probably already have this shape tattooed on them, unknowingly marking themselves as diehard Basecamp fans.
The “Disclosure face” is my second-favorite logo on this list (behind only Banks). It reminds me slightly of the golden ratio face mask that will tell you if you’re empirically beautiful or not, except it doesn’t give you any information. Disclosure also have a booth at their concerts where you can stand behind glass and the face will float over your own, which makes you feel like a part of something bigger than yourself, or like a masked zombie devoid of any individuality. It’s mood dependent, but fun for the whole family.
alt-J’s name is more like saying “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince,” in that it’s a actually a way to describe the symbol they’ve adopted as their name. If you type alt-J into your computer, the little triangle appears. ∆ — see? It’s very fun. ∆. ∆. ∆.
The xx, like alt-J, Disclosure, and Clean Bandit, have a logo that can easily be superimposed over or filled with other images, so it feels fresh yet consistent each time it appears.
Image via Brandon Arboleda
Avicii’s logo would make a marketing team proud — it comes not only with a typographic component to logo-fy his name, but also a clever little icon based on the first two letters, for use in smaller spaces.
Simple, clean lines, easy to project onto the backdrop behind the stage at a concert. Chvrches found a formula that works.
Icona Pop’s pixelated font reminds me of the cool Buddy Icons we used to download for our AIM profiles back in the early ’00s. They’ve toyed with a couple other logos/typefaces, but this one seems to be sticking.
Chance the Rapper
He’s still relatively new on the scene, so we’re not quite sure how much longer Chance the Rapper will be using this simple sketch of his face as a logo, but hopefully it’ll last awhile. He also frequently poses for pictures with his head tilted at the same angle, keeping a nice, consistent image.
Rihanna’s edgy, prickly logo first appeared in 2009 with the artwork for Rated R, the pre-Chris Brown album she co-wrote. The album’s dark intensity was a major departure from the island-y sounds of Good Girl Gone Bad and Music of the Sun, so the logo, ready to puncture hearts, was a perfect fit. She’s still using it, and it’s still excellent.
Haim’s logo vaguely channels the bold, serif typeface that covered seemingly every book from the 1970s, which makes sense because the band’s whole long-haired, groovy aesthetic was sniped from that decade as well.
This logo from poppy British girl group M.O. is excellent because 1. it’s a cat, and 2. it has three triangular points to represent each lady in the trio.
Zedd’s logo would be cooler if the shapes within it didn’t look so much like pointy condoms. Again, it’s worth noting that so many electronic acts and DJs make substantial use of logos — probably because they need a funky, giant backdrop for their “performances,” which generally don’t include singing, dancing, or instrument-playing. We need something else to look at besides the guy and his laptop.