Five creative directors and graphic illustrators critique designs for Daft Punk, Kygo, and more.
Whether you play country, EDM, or metal, having an unique logo that helps you stand out from the pack is important to a musician's branding. From Armin van Buuren's sticker-like decal to Deadmau5's, well, mouse head, these images often offer sweaty, nostalgic pangs when we see them, and a glimpse into the sonic aesthetic of the advertised act. That said, for every memorable logo, there's ten woefully generic or uninspired ones that make us wonder, "How much did they pay for this?"
We asked five of our favorite creative directors and graphic designers to help us decide which of these logos hold up from a design perspective—and which ones are looking a bit out-of-date. Scoring each one out of ten, they didn't hold back with their critiques, and we tabulated the results and crowned a winner.
Nicholas Aoki - illustrator and instructor at Toronto's OCAD University
Colin Bergh - creative director, Bad Day Magazine
Rebecca Cianfrini - art director
Geoffrey Pugen - video artist
Julia Troubetskaia - graphic designer, Concrete Design
Nicholas Aoki: I'm glad teenagers are still getting work.
Geoffrey Pugen: Is this logo of a barbershop? I do need some beard oil and a straight razor shave.
Julia Troubetskaia: Could be the logo for a bespoke canoe paddle company.
Overall Score: 4.6/10
Colin Bergh: Though it's instantly recognizable as Avicii's brand, based on the sole fact that it reads "Avicii," it doesn't do much in terms of longevity. Can we even talk about longevity in Avicii's case when he's already quit the game?
Rebecca Cianfrini: His phone number is +46769436383 so everyone text him and tell him how nice his "C" is.
Troubetskaia: I bet Avicii really loves this logo.
Overall Score: 4.7/10
Aoki: Why hire a teenager when you can just do it yourself?
Bergh: Brash, jagged, and sharp works perfectly well for Skrillex. It would also be fun to draw on your backpack in white-out or in ballpoint pen on your jeans in eighth grade. It's definitely abrasive.
Pugen: Any logo that has a sword in it...yes!
Overall Score: 5.1/10
Bergh: It feels like VIP bottle service in Toronto, which of course means it's out of date. The diacritic on the letter "E" is cleverly placed within the letterform itself. I'm not saying I like it, but I appreciate that some care was put into it, although I'm not sure how well it would reproduce at a smaller size.
Troubetskaia: Holds up the least for sure, though pretty iconic for me as a Russian person.
Overall Score: 5.4/10
6. Flying Lotus
Aoki: Excellent use of counterforms. Maybe flip the "T" around to avoid the unequal weighting. Let's work on this and I'll see your finals next week.
Cianfrini: Ehhhh I get it. This looks like 2007 and lamé headbands, when people liked knocking out counters and extruding everything in Adobe Illustrator all the time. I like Flying Lotus so I'm not going to hate too much. That "G" hurts me though.
Pugen: I like the hard-edge disco feel.
Overall Score: 5.8/10
5. Evian Christ
Bergh: I think it would work well as a back piece tattoo for one of his fuccboi fans.
Cianfrini: Anyone who doubts this logotype should admit that they love Kygo.
Troubetskaia: I wonder how hard the designer came after designing this.
Overall Score: 5.9/10
Aoki: I like it, it's bold in a riding-a-Segway-in-a-bike-lane type of way.
Bergh: Based on the logo we can deduce that these guys certainly love Jesus. The perfect symmetry is a nod to logos in the metal genre, which actually works perfectly as Justice was basically digital metal with a disco groove. Oh god, I can't believe I just wrote that last sentence.
Pugen: Anti-climactic and illustrated well. This logo would be a fun tattoo.
Overall Score: 6.6/10
3. The Chemical Brothers
Bergh: Successful in the fact that it's been their logo since the beginning. Keeping that consistent is key for your b(r)and. I kind of love how cheeky it is in the sense that it doesn't feel like a logo of an electronic group, it could easily be the logo for Jimi Hendrix.
Cianfrini: It's not "sharp" or "edgy," and doesn't have sick angles, but this look will come back, I promise.
Pugen: I have always liked this swirly logo. It feels like a Beastie Boys b-sides record title which is maybe a good thing.
Overall Score: 7.2/10
2. Aphex Twin
Cianfrini: Aphex fucks with the deep web and they're both great at making me feel creeped out. When I was 15-years-old and attached to forums, people were trying to figure out if this was an "A" or an alien. Maybe it's both.
Pugen: A 90s gem, it also looks like the Yellow Pages logo.
Troubetskaia: I think my older brother might have tried to shave this into his hair at one point.
Overall Score: 8.0/10
1. Daft Punk
Aoki: Daft Punk once played in Mississauga [Ontario] and I was offered a ticket, but chose to hang out with my girlfriend. This logo reminded me that you should always choose Daft Punk over love.
Bergh: These guys really hit the nail on the head, as it's not only been their logo since the beginning, but the basis for every album cover up until [2013s] Random Access Memories. I actually think that was a well-considered move as the logo doesn't really mesh well with the 70s AOR sound of RAM. It's also completely unique—the and form can't really be placed to a particular time or trend in graphic design.
Pugen: Ironic and anti-establishment, this logo references a multiplicity of possibles. At first I might have thought it was a horror movie starring the Misfits.
Overall Score: 8.2/10
Jess Carroll is on Twitter.