Nirvana is one of the most influential bands in the realm of alternative rock. Many questions raised by Nirvana in the prime of their career weren’t really asked before. Topics of anger, mental health and suicide alienated some, but many people increasingly were drawn to them, seeing how relevant and resonating they were.
Meaning and History
The band first started performing in 1987, Kurt Cobain being the key personality. The name came from the Buddhist concept of the spiritual condition without pain, suffering or attachment to the mundane world. This was what their music and their band meant to the people who started it, hence the name.
1988 – 1989
The original Nirvana logo, introduced in 1988, boasted a minimalistic uppercase inscription in a bold traditional sans-serif font with stable characters and clean contours, executed in black and set on a gradient white, gray, and black background of the first album cover.
1989 – 1994
Nirvana didn’t have a proper emblem until 1989, when this design surfaced. It’s a fairly basic yellow variation of serif. The letters are tall, rather official and thin in places. The color quickly became one of the iconic symbols of the band. It would seem that the band didn’t care much about their branding, and it seems true.
The logo is simply a universal way to recognize the brand – it doesn’t relay any ideas or resonate with the music itself.
1991 – 1994
The 1991 design was better in this sense. It was a simple, almost childish drawing of a face. A rough uneven circle contained an equally wavy, fluid and uneven smile with a tongue sticking out of the right side of the mouth. Where the eyes would be were instead two X-like crosses.
It was very in tune with the general mood of the band. 3 years after the introduction, Cobain committed suicide, which made this emblem grimly on-point, which immortalized it.
The Nirvana badge, used by the legendary band in 1992, featured an italicized uppercase inscription in a bold sans-serif font, set in plain black against a white background. A very simple logo still looked pretty dynamic and strong, evoking a sense of confident motion and development.
Emblem and Symbol
Both the text and the emblem could be used in different variations. Oftentimes, they’d be put together on the same shirt, poster or whatever else. The colors were also not set in stone. Yellow would be the most popular choice, although white, black and even more complex colors weren’t out-of-ordinary.