Heavy Metal Tech Branding
A Lark Goes Viral
This work was originally created just for fun on my iPhone and ultimately ended up going viral, with publication in stalwart design publication itsnicethat.com, as well as in The Guardian (print only) and The Independent. The designs can be purchased as high-quality t-shirts in the online shop, which to this day still are from time to time, from all over the world.
San Francisco based designer Sean Ross has reimagined the logos of leading tech companies as heavy metal album covers. Sean has sought inspiration in the artworks of metal stalwarts such as AC/DC, Danzig, Black Sabbath, and Slayer and produced new versions of familiar company logos and logotypes as a comment on the timidity of existing designs.
“As someone who thinks about visual culture, I’m concerned that branding has become an afterthought in this space — technology and function now lead the way overstory and image — what’s under the hood, the core values and DNA of what it is you’re voting for as a consumer, are sidestepped,” explains Sean. “The visual language of disruption is much more exciting and strange than anything you see in tech; it usually stems from youth and street culture, not white dudes on computers, and it’s constantly shapeshifting. While the signifiers of rebellion are always eventually co-opted, it seems like we’re skipping over that part entirely, and immediately going for what blends into the landscape, which makes sense when you’re chasing ’adopters’, but it’s so detrimental to brands being representative of anything unique or concrete.”
“Having grown up in the 1980s, heavy metal music became the perfect spark to explore these ideas, because metal does a pretty good job at visually representing what it actually is—loud, disruptive and shocking—anything but safe. Some of my first brand experiences were from studying and drawing the names of bands on my Pee Chee folder. There’s an honesty to them. Each one is differentiated in meaningful ways, but they also make sense as a collection of ideas,” says Sean. “It’s bizarre to me that these companies seem to spring up almost overnight that have a huge impact on the landscape of business and culture, but the design seems to have been made by some random engineer in Paintshop Pro. Later on, when the company has a mountain of money, they hire a creative agency to assign bevels and curves, but at the core, it’s still driven by the same aesthetically bereft mindset.”