Origins of the KISS logo

“By all accounts, lead guitarist Ace Frehley had a knack for art and designed it. According to one story, Frehley wrote the name over a poster for Wicked Lester — the band Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley left to form KISS — and came up with those S’s on the fly. What doesn’t get mentioned is that some of Wicked Lester’s artwork used a jagged lightning bolt in place of its own single S. What’s also unknown is Paul Stanley’s role in making the logo.”

KISS logo

You can read more in this PDF, written by Sue Apfelbaum for issue two of Red Bull Music Academy’s Daily Note.

Via Michael Surtees.

KISS Rock and Roll Over
Rock and Roll Over, 1976, designed by Michael Doret

It was after seeing the KISS logo at the age of seven when Lord of the Logos, Christophe Szpajdel began his interest in design.

Logo Design Love, the book

9 thoughts on “Origins of the KISS logo

  1. This is the first time I’ve realized I don’t like the K being the only curved letter when they’ve gone to such lengths to make the S’s jagged.

  2. I used to draw the KISS logo when I was a kid and didn’t even think twice about how it is such a simple but strong and recognizable design. Now that I’m a graphic designer, I can appreciate the background of the creation of the logo.

  3. KISS concreted my obsession with visual language and branding (1979 to the very present). Masters of brand and merchandising. And the hottest band in the land. X-)

  4. Apologies for invoking Godwin’s law, but didn’t the Nazis come up with those S’s in the 1920s?

    Anyhow – I think the curved limbs of the K balance the aggressive effect of the S’s and add a cartoon-ish element to the clear metal styling. It works.

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