U2 x 5 Logos
We’ve worked with U2 for a long time as their graphic designers and through the years we’ve made quite a number of design pieces for the band. So we thought we’d do an occasional blog called U2 x 5. The idea is simply for us to take 5 related graphic pieces we’ve designed for the band and comment on them. This blog is about U2 logos.
Logos, they’re absolutely all around us. They are the shorthand and visual idiom of our age. We have always enjoyed making these little marks and symbols for U2. We’ve picked just five logos out of the many we’ve made for the band and say a few words about each.
The Joshua Tree
The isolated silhouette drawing of the Joshua tree was the first U2 logo to appear that people recognised globally. It works both literally and figuratively and it is highly memorable. People connect it intrinsically with the U2 masterpiece album and as such the icon has inherited the characteristics of integrity and a certain kind of honesty and beauty. The tree itself has a lovely very individual shape with its unusual branches and leaves. The logo represents all that that album means to people, so much so that some people have it as a tattoo.
Zooropa – Astrobaby and ring of stars
The ZooTV tour had a fantastic hi-tech connection with satellite technology and the notion of being a TV station on the road. By the time of Zooropa’s outdoor shows, it was incredibly in your face. The icon drawing of the astrobaby surrounded by 12 stars in imitation of the European flag came to represent the tour and subsequently appeared on the cover of the Zooropa album. The logo has a whimsy and intrigue that is appealing. It can be understood without words and somehow its human smallness nicely represents the largesse and technicality of the Zooropa tour.
Pop – Lemon-planet logo
The PopMart tour had a multitude of references – a kind of celebration of 60s kitch and Americana, pop-art, and shopping were all in there. The stage featured an enormous yellow arch almost in homage to the golden arches of the McDonald’s restaurant sign and the band emerged out of a huge chrome lemon during the set. So somehow this logo – made for the tour merchandising – of a shopping trolley traveling around a lemon like a satellite made good sense.
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb – Chevrons, target and blast
While the How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb warning chevrons, the target and the ‘blast’ shape isn’t just one visual icon, it is still a visual language that worked in the same way as a logo for the album and tour campaign. The icons worked especially well on the cover of the special edition ‘handbook’ version of the album. These black and red-coloured components featured heavily as the album’s identity in promotion and advertising and through the singles from the album and consequently in the tour stage and merchandise.
U2360 – Logo
This icon represented the U2360 tour and in much the same way as The Joshua Tree logo, it’s a literal interpretation, with the logo’s simple curvilinear lines conveying the stage’s iconic shape rather than the other featured logos, which are more about representing an idea. It works well perhaps as its shape is not dissimilar to the elegant streamlined logos as seen for the likes of 60s automobiles with their reminiscence to the golden age of rockets and spacecraft.
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