Shepard Fairey designs 50th anniversary logo for Rolling Stones


Mick Jagger asked Shepard Fairey to redesign John Pasche's 1971 tongue and lips trademark for the Rolling Stones.

In a statement by Fairey, he said that he was overwhelmed by the idea of redesigning the logo when Mick Jagger reached out to him.

One of the first questions he had for Jagger was the inclusion for the ‘tongue’, which Jagger responded, "yeah I guess it ought to be".

His concept behind the logo was to highlight the Stones' legacy and integrate the ‘50’ in a ‘creative and memorable way’, that not only celebrated their trademark icon but also to commemorate their historical anniversary.

Taxi: The Rolling Stones Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With A New Logo


  1. I understand it was a daunting task, but the solution seems pretty lazy. 

    The inclusion of the “50” into the Rolling Stones name just seems unnecessary with “fifty” being in the ring element too, and the “50” creates a completely disjointed feeling in the type, especially with the added red in the mix — hell, it almost takes an internationally recognizable name and makes it read “Rolling 5Tones.”

    Just spelling out “Rolling Stones” normally would make the entire thing look a fair amount more appealing, but it doesn’t really solve the complete lack of originality — which comes as no surprise. I wonder if Shepard Fairey has been put in a position where people are too afraid to give him honest peer reviews.

    I’d prefer something like this — it’s a quick mock-up and not properly kerned, but it covers the point I’m trying to make.

      1. Well, I can’t blame him for not touching the core logo itself; it’s essentially perfect at this point in time and as a designer I think it’s irresponsible to mar that legacy, especially in the name of an anniversary.

        I just think more interesting things could be done with it without necessarily altering its recognizability. Even the stupid versions with the American or British flag as the tongue seem more inspired on some level. 

        Not to discredit Fairey entirely — he creates some really nice looking work, and had a major hand in Obama’s election campaign on top of having an internationally recognized “Brand” for himself — not an easy feat; I guess we just all have bad days, and this is one of his.

    1. I know folks have fallen out of love with the Shep, and of course I wasn’t there for the design meetings, but for all we know, he submitted 80 different roughs to them and upon his 80th rejection just said, “screw it.” 

  2. No, guys, come on, it really is more complex than it seems at first glance, and it has Fairey’s unique style all over it. If you magnify it a bunch, all the red and off-white areas of the image have tiny pictures of the Stones, plus the Union Jack and guitars and drums and stuff like that. The black areas have barely visible images of Baphomet. Plus, using off-white instead of white has Shepard Fairey written all over it.

  3. To me, the “fifty years” text around the outside is redundant to  the “50” hidden in the “Stones,” which I think is clever.

  4. I’m a fan of Fairey, but I don’t know a designer who couldn’t come up with this, execute it, and charge half as much. Even with his off white and trademark tone-on decoupage.

    ‘Redesign’ as per the headline is a gross exaggeration, but that’s what you have to do to get readers. He took a logo and put some type around it. With a brand as iconic as the Rolling Stones, all you have to (and the only thing you really should) do for any sort of commemorative logo is make the tongue/lips the focal point and frame it with some type that says classic rock ’n’ roll.

  5. Honestly I like it – I especially think that the off-white, muted tones changes the look of the tongue just enough to be different and cool-looking (though that type of coloring is pretty much standard for better graphic designers these days and anyone else they hired would have done the same) – and I even like the 5t0nes thing. 

    But I must agree that this can hardly be called a redesign. It’s more like something an intern would throw together to put on the website for the 50th anniversary. Though, the execution is better than that would have been, and is good enough for, say, a retrospective album cover.

    As an aside, as someone who started listening to music from the 60’s when I was in middle school in the late 90’s, when the music was already quite old, it’s rather astonishing to me that the Rolling Stones (and Bob Dylan and others) have not only been around for 50 years but are still rocking out on stage. What popular musicians of today will be around that long, still drawing huge audiences into their 70s?

    1. So “better graphic designers” these days can´t use pure white? Who would’ve thought …

      Sorry, to me this is just lazy, even the choice of color. Rolling Stones: It´s kind of an old thing so let´s just make the white parts look yellowed and call it a day.

      To call this a redesign is a sign of amazing chutzpa if nothing else I guess.

      1. No, you’re right, but I don’t mean not using pure white, I mean the reduced contrast and the flat look that gives it. This is very different from the high-contrast, glossy look of the original, and is very much the “now” thing in graphic design.

        Because of that the yellowed look actually makes it look more modern to me than aged, though either interpretation is valid :)

        1. While I find the aged-look that is so popular right now aesthetically pleasing, I think it´s way overused and in most cases feels gimmicky by now.

  6. huh, well I learned something today.   I always thought is was Andy Warhol designed that logo.  Had to bust out my copy of Sticky Fingers to be sure.  Right under the logo:

    “Cover Concept/Photography:  Andy Warhol
    Album Design/Graphics:  Craigbrauninc.
    Jackets/Sleeves:  Sound Packaging Corp.”

    OK, so then it was Pasche or this Craig Braun fellow?  It sure as hell looks like Warhol.  To Google:—r.html
    John Pasche:  “The first use of the logo was the inner sleeve for the Sticky Fingers album. The outer sleeve was designed by Andy Warhol, hence the mix-up with the credits (Ed. Note – many have attributed the logo design to Warhol, so we’re happy to clarify this here today!)”

    Guess I better quit telling people Warhol designed the Stones logo.  Pedantry is one thing; misinformation?  Quite another.

  7.  John Pasche’s got paid £50 for it. 
    It already was off-white when first used on the inner sleeve of Sticky Fingers. 
    It been used on a black background extensively, like on every stones t-shirt. 

    What is a shepard fairy? 

  8. yeah, speaking as a graphic designer, even though i like shepard fairey’s work, this one makes me just go “meh?” and wonder just what has been changed here.

  9. Thin-out the lips and make them blue; lose the teeth; sprinkle hairy sores on the tongue; et voila, a meaningful redesign. Or just slap an oxygen mask on that ancient kisser.

  10. Shepard Fairey is impressively consistent at  two things: probing the limits of artistic expression, and reinforcing my esteem for him as an artist.

    He mostly does the first by mucking about in the gray area around the lowest accepted thresholds of “art,” “expression,” “contribution,” and “integrity.”

    He mostly does the second by being an unrepentant un-self-aware uninteresting mooch with pounds of smarmy hustle for every pinch of talent he employs.

    All that said: Maybe this is a turning point for him.  This could be a (shockingly) subtle, ironic comment on the Rolling Stones shift from moderately subversive figureheads to mainstream corporate shills.  Maybe he’s saying, “Now that you’ve built a media empire around your image as rebel rockers, you deserve to have the famous icon of your irreverent sexuality debased into a shoddy commercial symbol churned, bereft of artistic quality.”


  11. The inlay of 50 seems clever but it’s punny which makes it corny which makes it lah-may.

    The iconic tongue alone means The Rolling Stones, so you don’t need to write the band’s name. Since it already says “Fifty Years”, one might’ve, in place of the band’s name, simply written “Still Rolling.”

  12. Some clever 20-year-old graphic designer who really needed a break, and could have turned out something far more interesting than this, lost a potentially career-making gig to this hack. The rich get richer, the loud get louder, and those willing to promote themselves most relentlessly get all the attention.

    To hell with Fairey, seriously — at this point, he’s more a living brand than anything else, the Mitt Romney of art. There is no piece of his I wouldn’t like to see promptly covered by street art by a sincere artist with a little soul remaining.

    1. Mick Jagger is like the C.E.O. of any big corporation. He picked someone who he’s heard of and figured was safe.  If he was going to pick a big name, I would have been much more interested in what Banksy would have to say. But I bet it wouldn’t have been as complimentary!

      edit- Better idea- Are you listening, Banksy? Please do a piece about Shepard Fairy!

    2. “the Mitt Romney of art.”

      Whether or not anyone agrees with this or not, I hope I make it to my grave without ever being called something like this.

    3. “he’s more a living brand than anything else, the Mitt Romney of art”

      So Fairey outsourced the task to workers from another country, then took all the credit (and profits) for a job well done? Hmmm… that would actually explain a LOT about this “redesign.”

  13. “[Fairey] said that he was overwhelmed by the idea of redesigning the logo”

    Evidently he remained too overwhelmed throughought the process to actually redesign it. I don’t think a skewed tracing and an extra highlight counts.

    Of course Mick might have been a picky client who was all “change it but not very much”. Maybe.

    Edit. A little research shows that the slight skew and extra highlight came along somewhere in the 41 years the logo has been in use rather than by Fairey’s modification.

        1. Yeah, it could use a little finessing. I tried not to spend more than about twice as much time on it than I estimated Fairey spent on his version. Maybe 3x.

  14. I tell you what Shepard, Ill let you do this for free and you’ll get some publicity as well as us- Mick ( I’m a businessman) Jagger

  15. Just to let everybody know, Shepard’s new line of Fred Hampton oven mitts and Bobby Sands cup holders are finally on sale over at the Obey website – Power to the People!

  16. Ouch. I wouldn’t let that type go out the door, even if I was revision-ed out the wazoo from Jagger. There are those jobs where you just say “whatever”, figure no real design is gonna happen, and do EXACTLY what’s asked as boringly as possible (give ’em what they want to the t–give em something to turn down so you can get on to something good), and usually the client will love that result.
    ….but you just don’t do that with the stones, especially if you’re name is as recognizable as Shep’s.
    I don’t even mind the idea of simply using the lips with type around it, but at least make the type work.
    …and what’s with the lines touching on the left, but not on the right? This is just…. weird.

  17. A band and an artist who were both formerly thought of as rebellious, but who are now mainstream mainstays. A perfect match. 

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