The Factory Records logo by Peter Saville. Continue Reading…
While there are many references on the web stating that the Death’s Head insignia was designed by long time “Frisco” Hells Angels President Frank Sadliek, Sadliek himself claims this is untrue. The image which appears on the membership card, as well as other Hells Angels ephemera, was drawn in 1953 by a man whose real name is lost or unknown, but was known to those at the time as “Sundown”. Frank had the original printer’s negative from which the “Frisco” Hells Angels membership cards were offset printed. This may be the reason for the attribution. The logo seems to have been inspired by the insignias of the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron and the 85th Fighter Squadron from WWII (pictured above).
The Black Panther Logo by Ruth Howard and Dorothy Zellner.
“Alabama was notorious for using the so-called “literacy test” to deny Blacks the right to vote. In truth, the state’s “education system” was so abysmal that many Blacks and poor whites were illiterate or semi-literate. But the white power structure made sure that illiterate whites were allowed to register and vote regardless.
Because so many illiterate whites were unable to read the names of the political parties or candidates on the ballot, Alabama law allowed each party to have a picture symbol, and all candidates were listed on the ballot in a column underneath their party’s symbol. You could vote the straight party ticket by simply marking your “X” underneath the symbol without bothering to puzzle out the names or offices of the actual candidates. The symbol of the whites-only Democratic party was a rooster, so illiterate white voters were instructed to “Vote for the rooster.”
Thus, when the Lowndes County Freedom Organization got their independent political party on the ballot, they had to chose a symbol. They chose a black panther.”
From Rolling Stone’s 40th Anniversary Summer of Love Special Edition (July 12 – 26 2007), Robert Greenfield* writes:
“While driving to work one day in his MG, Owsley saw an orange and blue logo with a white bar across it on a building. He thought it would look cool if the logo was red and blue with a white lightning bolt through it, so he had someone spray-paint a basic version of it on the Dead’s equipment. He then talked to Bob Thomas about putting the lightning bolt through the words “Grateful Dead” in lettering, which from a distance would look like a skull. Together, they devised the “Steal Your Face” logo (a.k.a. “the stealie”). Thomas, who died in 1993, sold it to the band as a letterhead for $250, meaning that neither he nor Owsley ever saw a dime from all those Deadhead stickers on the rear bumpers of Volkswagen buses.”
My friend West keenly observes that it is a rare case to see a street kid downtown that doesn’t bare some form of the Misfits skull, which is how the logo came to be the 8th addition in our ongoing series Great Counterculture Logos. As for its own origins, the image was adapted by Glenn Danzig from The Crimson Ghost, a 1946 movie serial about a cloaked villain’s attempts to obtain a counter atomic device known as Cyclotrode X.
We used stars on the first few releases as a background which was Ray‘s idea. He liked how Dangerhouse had black and yellow bars as their background on the labels so he wanted us to have something to identify Rev with like that. We got a Letraset sheet of stars and used it on the first three records we put out. The fourth record was going to be the Gorilla Biscuits 7″ and their friend (who would later join the band as a second guitar player), Alex Brown offered to do the layout for them. Alex took the star concept and put the letter “r” in a star and had the label name under it inside a box. Ray, Alex and Porcell all lived together in Brooklyn at the time so Ray saw the artwork before I did. He really liked the idea and called me to tell me about it. From his description over the phone I re-created it. That was the logo we ended up using because we had already used it on a few things (probably flyers, catalogs and ads). We used it on the GB 7″ and the Side By Side and No For An Answer records and repressings of the Sick Of It All 7″ too. Then we were working with Dave Bett at our main distributor Important on the layout for the New York City Hardcore – The Way It Is compilation and he offered to clean it up for us. He did and that’s basically the logo we’ve been using ever since.