DesignFeature

10 iconic record label designs

A well designed record company logo can be an extremely powerful marketing tool - and über-cool too. Here are 10 top examples of labels that got it right...

One of the most vital aspects of a record companies business is creating a brand that artists want to sign and consumers want to buy in to. Many of the longest running and most successful record labels are instantly recognisable by their logo design. Here are 10 top examples of record label logo designs to inspire you.

01. Factory Records

English designer Peter Saville was the man behind Factory Records iconic logo design

Manchester-based legendary label Factory Records started in 1978 and featured several prominent musical acts, including Joy Division and The Happy Mondays during its operation until the early 90s. English art director, graphic designer and Factory co-owner Peter Saville designed the record label's iconic logo - a graphic rendering of Manchester's industrial skyline - more than 30 years ago.

02. Harvest Records

Artist Roger Dean designed the logo for EMI's Harvest records

Internationally recognised artist and designer Roger Dean was the man behind the logo design for Harvest records. The label was created by EMI in 1969 to market progressive rock music, and was home to artists such as Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. 

03. Apple Records

Gene Mahon developed the concept for the internationally recognised symbol for Apple Records

The corporate logo design for the Beatles' multimedia company Apple Records was created by Gene Mahon. The simple yet effective design featured a bright green Granny Smith apple, obviously. Albums featured the common fruit whole on its A-side and the apple cut in half on its B-side.

04. Nervous Records

Nervous Records is recognised immediately by its distinctive cartoon character logo.

Started back in 1991, Nervous Records is recognised immediately by its eye-catching, distinctive cartoon character logo. The New York City record label of underground house music and hip-hop has been home to artists such as Armand Van Helden, Masters At Work and Kim English.

05. Reinforced Records

British electronic music artist, disc jockey and visual artist Goldie developed the logo for Reinforced Records

Reinforced Records was started by Mark Mac (aka Marc Clair) and  Dego (aka Dennis McFarlane) in 1989. Throughout the '90s, Reinforced earned a reputation as one of the most important and innovative Drum 'n' Bass labels in the world. During this time, the duo met Goldie and, in exchange for artwork and logo design, let him work in their Dollis Hill studio.

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06. Sympathy for the Record Industry

This cool logo represents independant garage rock and punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry

This eye-catching logo belongs to record label Sympathy for the Record Industry. The independent, mainly garage rock and punk label has been active since 1988. Owned by American entrepeneur Long Gone John, notable artists who started with Sympathy include The White Stripes and American alternative rock band Hole.

07. Warp

Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic was the man behind the Warp logo design

Warp (aka Warp Records) is an independent British record label, founded in 1989 by Steve Beckett and the late Rob Mitchell. The company's instantly recogniseable logo was designed the same year by Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic.

08. Island Records

Island's famous silhouette palm tree logo has featured on many albums, with the label being responsible for some of the biggest acts in the last four decades

Island Records was founded in Jamaica in 1959 by Chris Blackwell. Its distinctive silhouette palm tree logo has been on many famous albums from artists such as Bob Marley and U2.

09. Earache Records

Earache Records' graphic designer Mark Leahry developed this detailed logo to celebrate the label's 25th anniversary

Hydro74 (the Orlando-based designer also known as Joshua M. Smith) created this amazing logo design last year as the label celebrated 25 years in the business. The distinctive graphic captures the label's extreme metal genre perfectly.

10. Motown

Motown record label began using this iconic symbol on its albums in 1965

Another legendary record label, Motown had a series of logos over the years. Probably its most famous is this square 'M' logo, which the company began using in 1965. The iconic graphic became instantly recogniseable as the symbol for the Motown brand.

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We know we'll have missed some out, and we also know that you're going to tell us which ones! Let us know what your favourite record label designs are in the comments...

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