This has to be one of the all time classic case studies of creative-knows-best. The logo, designed in 1970 by art school student John Pasche for 50 quid (the original art work for which has just been sold to the V & A for 50 grand), so nearly never was. When I heard Pasche interviewed on Front Row last night he relayed an interesting story about how keen Jagger was that the logo should reflect his current enthusiasm for Indian mysticism. As Pasche tells it to the Guardian:
"Mick had a picture of Kali, the Hindu goddess, which he was very keen on. India was very much in fashion at the time, but I thought something like that might go out of date…I wanted something anti-authority, but I suppose the mouth idea came from when I met Jagger for the first time at the Stones' offices. I went into this sort of wood-panelled boardroom and there he was. Face to face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and his mouth."
Pasche ignored the client. The result – the single most iconic band logo and one of the most recognisable identities in the world. Few band logos are widely identifiable from a logo that doesn't feature lettering. And yet, this image is The Rolling Stones. Whilst other bands have changed, adapted, tweaked their identity, this has remained a constant for almost 40 years. Sometimes if the brief ain't right you've just gotta go with your instincts.