“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 OverRock 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.


April 30, 2013


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.

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.

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-)

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.

Fantastic. To think that this cover—with its precise, clean lines—was created long before Adobe Illustrator existed is impressive. It’s 40 or so years old, but looks like it could have been created yesterday.

Kiss have a separate logo for the German market (as well as Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Israel) because they have run afoul of laws banning Nazi symbolism. The alternate logo has S’s look like backwards Z’s. (Incidentally, the two unchanging members of Kiss are both Jewish.)

Why look for meaning where there is none? Ace Frehley obviously had an obsession with Nazi memorabilia and probably subconsciously designed the KISS logo with the lightening bolt SS because he thought it looked cool and had a certain amount of power behind it. It definitely did! Every single kid that grew up in the ‘70s drew that logo at one time or another. And the rest is KISSTORY!

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