Nirvana Logo

logo NirvanaNirvana Logo PNG

The idea of the Nirvana logo is said to belong to Kurt Cobain himself. However, Lisa Orth mentioned, that as the Art Director for Sub Pop records she created Nirvana’s first records and their logo.Nirvana Logo

Meaning and history

Nirvana Logo history

1989 — Today

Nirvana Logo 1989
The very first logo for the legendary music band was introduced in 1989 and featured an intense yellow logotype, which was usually placed on a white background. The lettering in the uppercase was executed in a slightly narrowed serif typeface with sleek curved tails of some letters and solid confident contours. The yellow here evokes a sense of energy and warmth, making traditional shapes of the inscription look truly outstanding and memorable.

1991 — Today

Nirvana logo
In 1991 the Nirvana logo changed its color palette to monochrome and got additional graphics to its elegant and bold logotype. The emblem of the band is now placed under the black wordmark and is also executed in black smooth lines. It is a famous Nirvana Smiley face, which is considered to be one of the most recognizable music emblems in history.

The “Smiley Face” logo was unveiled in 1991. It appeared on the flyer for the launch party for Nirvana’s Nevermind album. The same year, it appeared on the front of a Nirvana tee shirt. From that time on, the emblem, together with the wordmark, has been used as the band’s only symbol.

No one knows for sure what the meaning behind the Nirvana logo is. Here are some of the most popular explanations:

  1. “Smiley” depicts the expression that Nirvana fans had on their faces during performances.
  2. Cobain used the emblem of The Lusty Lady strip club that was rather popular at his time. The club was located in Seattle, just 100 miles away from his hometown.
  3. The emblem could have been inspired by the smile on the face of Axl Rose from the Guns N’ Roses band.
  4. Some sources mention the “The Acid House” emblem as the source of the Nirvana logo.
  5. According to some people, the symbol just depicts a person who has drunk too much or has taken drugs.
  6. The same picture was drawn under the bridge Cobain slept under.


Font Nirvana Logo

The name of the type used for the wordmark is Onyx. There is an interesting story behind it, including two participants: Lisa Orth, who designed the band’s logo, and Grant Alden, who used to be Art Director of the label that released Nirvana’s debut album. Orth is said to have paid Alden to use the type programmed into his typesetter at that very moment, and that turned out to be the Onyx typeface.


Color Nirvana Logo

The Nirvana logo utilizes a simple, yet catchy color scheme, consisting of two colors: yellow and black. Being put side by side, they create a very energetic contrast.