When Led Zeppelin was first founded in 1968, hard rock was still in its infancy. Their heavy sound combined distorted guitars with blues inspired sounds to create one of the first hard rock or heavy metal bands. Though Led Zeppelin never created any official logo, a signature font and group of symbols came to represent the band. You can learn all about the fascinating history behind these Led Zeppelin logo by reading this article.
Led Zeppelin Logo Design Elements
The main Led Zeppelin logo is a wordmark that has the band’s name in white on a black background. Each letter is a capitalized, serif font that is characterized by an elongated and slightly skewed look. The E’s and P’s are shortened at the top, and have very long legs. Both of the two first E’s and the I are shortened to fit inside the L’s and Z’s, which have an unusually wide lower line. The D has a diagonal slant instead of a curved edge, to make it fit against the Z.
The logo occasionally includes four symbols beneath the wordmark. Swirling, curling lines make up a first symbol that appears to spell “ZOSO,” and the second symbol is a circle intersected by a trefoil knot. The third symbol is three interlocking circles, and the fourth is a thick circle surrounding a feather.
Changes and Evolution
For the first few years of their career, Led Zeppelin struggled to create an identifiable logotype or emblem. Led Zeppelin tried out many different logotypes that contained their name in a variety of styles. Their albums had a wide range of themes, so some of the band’s wordmarks had a hippie style with balloon lettering and pop culture references, while others had a more simplistic shape with clean lines and no additional detailing.
Led Zeppelin’s first few album designs and logos tended to use a mixture of black, white, yellow, and red for their logo. They gradually simplified this color scheme until the band had a simple black and white logo. This allows for a great deal of versatility. Led Zeppelin typically uses a black design on light backgrounds, or a white design on dark backgrounds.
Most Led Zeppelin products in their early days used sans-serif fonts instead of the font that eventually became their logo. This gradually progressed from a simple Helvetica -inspired font to a more elongated and skewed font, similar to their eventual logo font.
Led Zeppelin’s logo includes the four symbols because the band initially wanted something that represented each of the four members, while being somewhat anonymous. The first symbol represents Page, and it is meant to be a magical sigil. According to Page, the swirls were not actually supposed to represent a word, even though they seem to spell “Sozo.”
The circle and three pointed knot were selected by Jones from a book of signs to represent confidence and competence. Bonham also picked a sign from the same book, and his three interlocking circles represent a mother, father, and child group. Plant designed the feather within a circle on his own. The feather symbolizes the Egyptian idea of “Ma’at,” which means balance.
- The book that the band members picked their symbols from was “The Book of Signs” by Rudolf Koch, a German typography and illustration expert.
- Led Zeppelin’s signature logo font first appeared on Stairway to Heaven artwork in 1973.
- The band gets their name from a joke that they would “go down like a lead balloon” or essentially be a disaster. They removed the A from “lead” to keep it from being pronounced like “leed,” and then changed “balloon” to “zeppelin” because it sounded better.
The signature font of the Led Zeppelin logo provides a lot of artistic appeal to the otherwise plain logo wordmark. Its unusual symbols add to the band’s sense of showmanship and mystery, while the simple color design lets the band use their logo in many different settings. This signature logo remains a favorite of Led Zeppelin fans to this day.
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