It's typical. You wait ages for a reminder that some of the biggest 21st century corporations grew out of the hippy counterculture of the 1970s... and then two come along at once.
Yesterday we note how the Steve Jobs movie poster (opens in new tab) recalls how Apple was founded by an acid-dropping Buddhist rebel. And here comes a reminder of how megacorporation Virgin began life as a small-time mail-order record label for lovers of hippy music such as Gong's Flying Teapot (Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 1) (opens in new tab).
The original logo for Virgin, known as the 'Gemini' or 'Twins' logo, was designed by English artist and illustrator Roger Dean (opens in new tab), who's famed for his exotic, mystical landscapes. A far cry from the current signature-style Virgin logo, it featured a young naked woman in mirror image with a large long-tailed serpent (shown below):
Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Virgin Records, Dean has released this newer, "more confident" version of the logo (below):
Dean was happy with the original design, he says, "but I always wanted to do a much more elaborate final, final drawing". However, "the original drawing has just been waiting in four different studios over the years, as I’ve moved from place to place".
Last Christmas, Dean finally finished it and made three versions: one in black and white; another in black and white with sepia sky, and a third in colour. These are now available to buy as limited-edition prints from his website.
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- The ultimate guide to designing the best logos (opens in new tab)
Have you spotted a big brand getting playful with its logo? Let us know about it in the comments!