THE ART OF THE LOGO
In heavy metal, a band's logo is more than a font: it's a full-blown identity. "You can look at the logos and know what the band sounds like without ever hearing them," says Karlynn Holland, an illustrator and sculptor who's created spindly logos for Krallice and Dysrhythmia, among others. "You'll know if it's a black-metal band or a death-metal band or grindcore or punk, just from the way the logo looks."
So when she's creating a new logo, Holland's first step is to grill the band on their influences: " 'Who do you listen to?' 'What is it you're going for?' And then I also ask them, like, 'What are your favorite TV shows?' You know, give me all the information." She'll also iterate: when working on the Krallice logo, "We messed around with a couple versions of it where I gave it more fuzz or let it drip or tried to expand it in some way. But it was sort of unanimously agreed that the bone work, if you will, the basic structure of it, just stood on its own in this way."
The end goal is to embed as much metadata, as it were, into the logo, because Holland knows it's often a fan's first impression. "I really think of the logos the same way I think of portraits. They're specific, and individual, and they have identifying characteristics. If you train your eye, you don't just see that this is a grindcore band, you know a little bit more than that. Like it's a grindcore band, and also they probably listened to a ton of hardcore when they were kids."
MORE ART FROM THIS EXHIBIT: "We Still See the Black," at New Art Center
We Still See the Black, September 15–October 14 at New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville.
Follow Carly Carioli on Twitter @carlycarioli.