Grateful Dead Logo

Grateful Dead LogoGrateful Dead Logo PNG

Fans of rock music still remember the Grateful Dead and their iconic symbols. They were artwork for the covers of their albums or concert posters, but some of them have become recognizable logos.

Grateful Dead Logo

Meaning and history


Grateful Dead Logo history

Among the band’s symbols there is one that stands out even today. It is the Steal Your Face skull symbol. The drawing of a circle with a human skull and a lightning bolt appeared in 1969. The band took part in a lot of concerts, so there was a need for some emblem to identify their equipment in backstage areas. The band’s sound engineer Owsley Stanley was once inspired by a dual-colored freeway sign. He shared his ideas with the graphic designer Bob Thomas. Shortly after that the Grateful Dead logo appeared.

Grateful Dead logo

The Grateful Dead logo is in red and blue (alternating on the sides) and white. The lightning bolt has 13 points. There are opinions that they represent either the original American colonies or the process to creating LSD which consists of 13 steps. As for the bolt, it may signify enlightenment and transformation through the band’s music.

grateful dead emblem

As the symbol is on the cover of the album Steal Your Face, it is often referred to as the Steal Your Face skull emblem and the skull is called Stealie.

What does the Grateful Dead bolt mean?
The white lighting bolt, diagonally dividing the skull on the tricolor logo of the Grateful Dead band has different versions of its meaning. This bolt looks quite unusual, as has 13 sharp corners. Some interpret this number as a symbol of the 13-step LSD production process, while others interpret it as the 13 first colonies of the United States. Whatever the true meaning of the bolt is, the Grateful Dead emblem is one of the iconic symbols in the history of rock music.

Is it the Grateful Dead or just Grateful Dead?
The official name of the band is “Grateful Dead”, but this was not the first one. The Grateful Dead was originally called The Warlocks, but they had to change the name after a Texas band with the same name signed a deal with a popular label.  The Grateful Dead name itself supposedly came about by accident: Garcia opened an old encyclopedic dictionary at random and saw there a magical phrase that meant “The soul of the dead, grateful to the one who buried its body”.

What does the Grateful Dead represent?
The Grateful Dead is an American rock band with frontman Jerry Garcia, founded in 1965 in San Francisco. The band’s musical style is difficult to describe in one word, as it combines elements of completely different directions, from blues and jazz to psychedelic rock.

What is the Grateful Dead logo called?
The iconic Grateful Dead logo is one of the most recognizable emblems in the history of world’s music. And, of course, it’s got a name. The red blue and white skull from the Grateful Dead visual identity is called Steal Your Face. The skull gets its name from the 1976 concert album of the same name, on the cover of which it was depicted. But its story begins much earlier.The design first appeared around 1969. To make the band’s equipment easier to distinguish backstage, the band’s Sound Engineer created a special badge. He was inspired by the red and blue color palette of American highway signs and came up with a circle divided in two by a lightning bolt, with contrasting colors on both halves. The logo was later refined by graphic designer Bob Thomas.