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JukeBox is a blog for lovers of design and music in equal measure. All posts are written by experts who've been there and got the (band) t-shirt.

Is this the worst rock logo of all time?

Is this the worst rock logo of all time?

Art Chantry thinks so. And he should know.


Great spot from our US eyes and ears, Mr Norman Hathaway, on Facebook. His friend Art Chantry*, the Seattle designer well known for his grungy approach to music graphics, had this to say about the Metallica logo in a recent post:

“i am a student of rock logo design. i spend a lot of my time pondering the intellectual and emotional significance of these little squiggles. i have even designed a few thousand of them as well. some are good , some are bad. but, in general, the majority of rock logos sorta suck. all that is said to sort of lay the groundwork for my observations about this particular logo. the competition is SO HUGE for ‘worst rock logo of all time’ that i hesitate to even try to pick one for that distinction. but, i choose this one. it really really sucks. the only good thing i can say about metallica's logo is that it's famous. and that’s OUR fault.” (sic)

For the record, the Metallica logo was designed by the band’s lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield. He also was also responsible for the alternative ‘ninja star’ and ‘scary guy’ logos, which have since become prime tattoo fodder.  

Star turn: James Hetfield’s mutant ninja logo

Star turn: James Hetfield’s mutant ninja logo

Metal head: when simple type just won’t do

Metal head: when simple type just won’t do

And if you'd like your name (or any other combination of words) rendered in the style of 'the worst rock logo of all time', just head over to metallica.alwaysdata.net, where it can be arranged in a trice.

Lightning Jim: accept no imitations

Lightning Jim: accept no imitations

*Art Chantry has had a prolific 40-year career, in which he’s carved a reputation for his no-nonsense views and no-frills aesthetic. He’s been responsible for innumerable posters and album covers for bands from the Pacific Northwest, notably Mudhoney, Mono Men, Soundgarden and The Sonics. 

Check out ‘Some People Can’t Surf: The Graphic Design of Art Chantry’ by Julie Lasky (Chronicle Books, 2001), and his very own ‘Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design’ (Feral House, 2015).

D1 — The Doors

D1 — The Doors

C1 — The Cramps

C1 — The Cramps