Red Tongue: the true history of the famous Rolling Stones logo
The Rolling Stones’ red tongue has been an integral part of their identity since the release of the album Sticky Fingers. The mythical British group has also focused its visual communication around this logo. Thus, the image immediately evokes these icons of rock around the world.
In addition, this brand is now visible on many media such as stickers, pendants, pins, etc.
Where does the Red Tongue logo of the Rolling Stones come from ?
Printed on a T-shirt or a sweater, the language of the Rolling Stones is very easy to recognize, even from a distance. The image has indeed transcended generations thanks to its original coloring and features. Moreover, this longevity continues to impress graphic designers and creative people in general.
Dynamic and provocative, the Stones logo immediately brings to mind the lips and behavior of Mick Jagger. The vocal leader of the band likes to play with his tongue in a suggestive way on stage. In addition, he has a mouth and lips quite atypical.
This connection has contributed to to popularize quickly the graphic signature of the group.
Over the years, the logo has turned into a real brand, beyond the usual communication media. T-shirts and posters are of course still essential for the tours. These derivative products were then joined by stickers, costume jewelry and various decorative objects.
Like all famous visuals, the Lips and Tongue logo is surrounded by captions and misunderstandings. It was notably wrongly attributed to Andy Warhol. The latter indeed created the controversial cover of Sticky Fingers with the zipper. On the other hand, the red tongue has been added to the cover by theCraig Braun’s creative team.
The latter has also retouched a pre-existing design.
The original concept was developed by John Pasche, still a student at the Royal College of Art at the time. Initially, Mick Jagger had ordered the visual from the prestigious London school. The establishment then recommended a promising young graphic designer, Pasche.
For this work, he received 50 pounds in 1970, then 200 pounds in 1972 before selling the copyright in 1984.
Is marketing the key to the Stones’ success ?
The language of the Rolling Stones can sometimes make you think of Winnie the Pooh in the children’s department. Indeed, this logo can be used on a wide range of objects, from jeans to giant stickers and magnets. You can even find the image on license plates and car stickers.
It’s widely accepted that a good logo is important for brands and companies. This visual signature actually contributed to the timeless success of the Rolling Stones. The mythical group is not reduced to marketing.
Nevertheless, this approach is not totally unrelated to the legendary status of these British rockers.
From the beginning, the Rolling Stones have all relied on their image of bad boys to stand out from the Beatles. They have thus emphasized the sexual connotation of this rebel music. This return to the roots of rock’n’roll has quickly won over music lovers and young people.
Therefore, the red for the logo was a must from the start. Pasche succeeded in choosing the right color for its brand.
Despite popular belief, the language of the Rolling Stones is not really Mick Jager’s. It is inspired among other things by the Goddess Kali, at the request of the band’s leader. This Hindu deity evokes sexuality and death.
The singer, however, has kept the myths around the logo alive with his stage performance.
Finally, you will measure what the color and shape of’a logo say d’a company with the 50th anniversary version. It was created by Shepard Fairey, author of the campaign ” Hope “for Barack Obama. It is ultimately a consensual facelift to appeal to early fans and younger.
So the Rolling Stones kept their original marketing strategy.