Back in the early 1990s something happened that changed the way we see what’s cool forever. And that something was grunge. Whether you lay the honour at the feet of Kurt Cobain or believe Mark Arm, the vocalist of Mudhoney (who is believed to be the first to use the term), was the man responsible for the revolution, the significance of grunge cannot be over-estimated. From riot grrrls dressed in babydoll dresses and Doc Martins to long-haired boys in plaid shirts, the Seattle look took over United States, starting with Seattle. And the movement spread. Post Nevermind, grunge went mainstream, and its influence touched every aspect of the creative industries including fashion, film, art and design. Its hold on cool-credentials doesn’t seem to be slipping. Head over to east London today and you’ll see kids in checked shirts wearing converse on skateboards everywhere – the fact some of these ‘kids’ are now in the thirties is a topic for another discussion. Here we take a look at some creative grunge-inspired logo designs; perfect for leftfield brands with edge and a great way to inject some cool into a more corporate organisation.
Dissident Entertainment Group is a band promoter that specialises in alt-rock and emo groups. Their rebellious logo design takes a simple approach to colour and toughens things up with non-linear typography, ink splashes and dirty block caps.
This minimal logo includes several grunge-inspired elements, appearing haphazard at first glance yet immaculately constructed by the second. The black scribbles create the silhouette of Africa, the red scribble highlights Chad’s geographic location and the muted colour palette is an in-keeping with effortless grunge aesthetics.
A comment on mass-consumerism, a poke at classic Americana and a strikingly effective treatment to boot; this logo uses a grunge-inspired twist on the familiar price-point flash to garner impact and attention.
Classic east-coast understated colours, quirky illustration and an unfinished feel makes this logo by VERGad effortlessly cool. It has a lot in common with the 2003 album artwork for Chutes Too Narrow by New Mexico post-grunge group, The Shins.
Stomping Girl Winery may be based in Berkley, California, but its branding style has much more in common with the lo-fi qualities traditionally associated with the east coast. Using just one shade on a neutral-toned background, the very name of the company seems a deliberate hat tip grunge girls such as Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon and Corin Tucker.
Counter-culture, rock music and tattoos go hand in hand. Here’s a girly take on the traditionally masculine tattoo-crest, for the Californian neo-folk cabaret group Amber Lee and the Anomalies. Introduce tattoo-inspired artwork to your logo for an instant injection of grunge glamour.
Another swipe at classic Americana here, this time in the style of the infamous Coca-Cola label. The logo also has a hint of that other ubiquitous US brand, Levi’s. Note the faded main colour, worn away to reveal the background beneath and the iconic yet anarchic use of stars; a playful and subversive take on Stateside memorabilia.
Nothing says grunge quite like faded typography. This music event logo is a brilliant example of the technique; take a closer look at the way in which each line of text is ever so slightly more worn out than the one before.
Sometimes all it takes to step away from the corporate world is a hand drawn illustration. This logo, despite its monochromatic colour palette, epitomises the unpolished essence of grunge design. It’s simple, quirky, cute and enviously cool all at the same time.
A skewed sense of nostalgia and childhood is also a crucial element of grunge culture. This beautiful logo takes influence from 1950s children’s TV, but thanks to the textured typography, worn out blue background and unashamedly retro typography it’s edgy and dirty instead of shiny, happy.
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