Shepard Fairey updates Stones logo for 50th

Shepard Fairey has created a logo for the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary based on John Pasche’s 1971 original: but what’s going on with that type?

Shepard Fairey has created a logo for the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary based on John Pasche’s 1971 original: but what’s going on with that type?

Pasche created the original lips logo while still a student at the RCA, for which he was paid the princely sum of £50. In 2008 Pasche sold the original artwork for the logo at auction to the V&A for $92,500. (for more, see our story here).

A slightly redrawn version of Pasche’s original logo was first used on the inner sleeve of Sticky Fingers (above).


Fairey had already worked with Jagger and Dave Stewart on the pair’s Superheavy project. “When Mick Jagger reached out to me about designing a logo to mark the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary I was quite overwhelmed,” Fairey says in a statement on his website. “One of the first things I asked Mick was ‘don’t you think the tongue HAS to be included?’. He responded ‘yeah I guess it ought to be’. Case closed. I was very humbled and honored to be asked to work on the 50th logo so my objective was to service and showcase the Stones’ legacy rather than try to make my contribution dominant.

“I worked on this project as a fan knowing that the Stones’ tongue was the focus and the starting point. With that in mind I set out to integrate the 50 in a creative and memorable way,” Fairey continues. “I think the solution speaks for itself in celebrating the Stones’ trademark icon and historical anniversary.”

Thoughts? It’s certainly respectful of the tongue but, typographically-speaking, it’s a bit of a car crash, with five different faces jostling for position, none of them sitting particlularly happily either with each other or on the curve on which they have been set. As a result, the power of the original logo, which remains one of the great pieces of visual communications, is diminished rather than enhanced.



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  • The rolling stones should have asked someone who had a vague idea about what they were doing.

  • I think that it intentionally breaks a few typographic ‘rules’ to reflect the personalities of the band and Jagger. I also think if you viewed it without the context of time you would struggle to place it in an era, as such it has a timeless quality when in fact it doesn’t really need to be.

    It could also be reflective of the current trend for good ‘bad’ design.

  • Title should read ‘Shepard Fairey RUINS Stones logo for 50th’.

  • Ah the Rolling 5 Tones.

  • Is it trying to meld fonts from the last 50 years? It’s really bad – almost unreadable in terms of what it is trying to say, get the 50th anniversary across. It’s a bloody mess in fact!

  • Robert

    I actually prefer the very original version of the lips. As for the type it’s just hammy. And do we really need ‘fifty years’ as well as ’50’?!

  • Johnny 45

    I appreciate that Sheppard has his own unique house style, but it’s a matter of if it’s not broken do not fix it.
    The typography is awful.

  • There is or should be a distinction between a graphic designer and a visual artist. While Shepard Fairey has done wonders at bridging the two idioms blurring the lines and possibly creating a hybrid form of visual communication, it is not lost on me that he lacks certain fundamentals. Good type design takes more than repurposing visual elements in popular culture. There is a subtle and unconscious dance with an audience and type sets the tempo. Someone from his peer group that was far more sensitive to the interplay of type and image in a fine art idiom would be the late Margaret Kilgallen.

  • Henry

    Last time I checked replacing letters with numbers is neither creative or memorable.

  • combat

    don’t get an illustrators to work with type

  • Marc Atkinson


  • Tom

    I am indifferent

  • Ben

    I agree that Shepard has done other outstanding work over the years which is far more memorable but this logo is just plain awful. He really should have a better understanding of the use of type, especially given his experience!

  • craig coots

    Henry look up Deadmou5

  • Landmark logo becomes suburban burger bar badge.

  • Great stuff. It is such an iconic image. Did a fantastic job modernizing but keeping it to its roots of design.

  • MIcha

    Look at (insert piece of work on CR blog).
    Realise it’s not great.
    Await comments to check other designers don’t like it first.
    Write comment saying how much you don’t like it.


  • Ed


    Yeah, but the typography here really is shit though isn’t it?

  • Micha


    I’m pretty certain he’s used wordart

  • Matt

    Aside from the type being horrible, how about the unrefined line work?
    It’s like he laid down the lines in illustrator once and never went back to smooth stuff out..

    What bothers me most now are the two ‘shine’ marks on the tongue.
    Really bad.