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Monday, October 6, 2014

QUIZ: Can You ID These Bands From Their Famous Typefaces?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 4:13 AM

Jena Ardell
Fact: Any band who uses Times New Roman on their album cover isn't going to make it in the music industry. (Feel free to prove us wrong, though). Smart typography selection is as important to a band's image as having a memorable logo.

In 1937, industrial designer and typographer Gerry Powell, designed an extremely condensed typeface named Onyx that became very popular among advertising type in the 1940s because it allowed more characters to be used when space was limited or costly.

Cut to present day and any 90s kid will identify Powell's Onyx typeface as "Nirvana font", thanks to typesetter Grant Alden. According to, Alden was paid $15 to assist the graphic designer originally hired to create the cover art for Nirvana's Bleach in 1989. Nirvana's signature smiley face, drawn by Cobain, is another "mental shortcut" to identify the band.

Time to test your typography knowledge and the following bands' branding skills. Can you identify these famous acts by their typefaces? Answers provided on the last page.

1. Founded in 1977 in New Jersey, this band is often attributed for creating the horror punk subgenre.


2. Unfortunately, a member of this metal band from Sacramento died in 2013, after being in a coma. The band released a track from a shelved album as a tribute, but the video was removed by Warner Bros. Records two days later, citing copyright infringement.

3. Despite their short career, which produced only four singles and one studio album, this band is regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.


4. This alternative metal band has grown tired of comparisons to Alice in Chains, which the lead singer has cited as an influence.


5. This English band is considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history. According to The New York Times, that they have sold over 85 million records worldwide.


6. This alternative rock band from the UK has been compared to Radiohead, and is often associated with space rock and progressive rock genres.


More typefaces on the next page


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