Google goes metal!

Facebook freaks out.

The New York Times hails Satan.

Yahoo slashes it up.

Prada gets perverse.

Walt Disney's corpse rises from the grave.

The number of the beast, Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart, take 2.

Apple worships Azrael.

Mephistophelean Microsoft.

Fast Company goes thrash.

Twitter goes Iron Eagle.

11 Famous Companies Rebranded As Black Metal Bands

Having designed almost 7,000 logos for metal bands around the world, Christophe Szpadjel turns his attention to Apple, Google, Facebook, and more.

Belgian-born Christophe Szpadjel isn't so different than many other metalheads. Like the long-haired kid in the Megadeth T-shirt at the back of homeroom, Szpadjel spends his free time doodling the names of his favorite black metal bands in a notebook, elaborating upon them with spidery lines, satanic or Celtic imagery, or elaborately intertwining curlicues. There's only one difference: Bands actually pay Szpadjel to trace his logos. Since 1977, Szpadjel has designed over 7,000 logos for black metal bands around the world, including Emperor, Moonspell, Old Man's Child, and Arcturus.

They call him the Lord of Logos, but we wondered: Could even Szpadjel's skills make the logos of some of the world's most famous companies more metal? So we put him to the task of interpreting the logos of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and more as if they weren't multibillion-dollar companies but black metal bands slurping the blood out of a bat's neck stump on stage. Here's what he came up with.

Although for the most part Szpadjel's reimaginings are immediately recognizable, he has tended to make each logo rawer and more organic. The New York Times's familiar Hoefler Tilting font becomes Gothic through the use of sharp barbs. Likewise, Facebook becomes a bramble of thorns likely to draw blood--a metaphor for the death by a thousand cuts the average Facebook user experiences every day--while the serifs of the famous Prada logo grow long, pointed tails that snake around, and the Apple logo becomes an actual fruit, its over-ripe flesh ironically tattooed with the philosophy the company arguably abandoned: Think Different. A thousand leaves and branches spiral out of the Microsoft logo.

"My work is very organic, which is an extension of my interest in nature," Szpadjel tells Co.Design. "There's always been a link between wildlife and metal. There's a shamanistic feel to them, and designing logos is my way of exploring nature."

Not all of Szpadjel's logos have been interpreted shamanistically, however. For Yahoo, for example, he interprets the letters of the company's name violently, almost like razor slashes in exposed flesh, right down to bruising around the edges. In Szpadjel's hands, the Twitter bird mascot almost becomes an iron eagle, Google's logo looks almost like an elaborate line-staff of Gothic-era musical notation, and Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the Walt Disney Picture logo becomes a keep of nightmares.

We may be biased, but we're particularly delighted with Szpadjel's extremely literal interpretation of the Fast Company logo: in the Lord of Logo's hands, we're the thrashiest and metalest of all business publications.

All of this is just good fun, but to Szpadjel, the companies of today could learn a thing or two from metal logos, or indeed the simpler logos of the past. "Logos weren't meant to be designed by committee, which is why the best logos are drawn by hand," Szpadjel says. "Look at the Coca-Cola or Kellogg's logos. The most timeless logos aren't necessarily the most efficient, readable or even memorable ones. They're the ones that have the most flow."

We couldn't put it better ourselves. All hail the Lord of Logos!

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39 Comments

  • Emmanuel Taillard

    You cannot teach a guy who made some of the most original and famous metal band logos how to work. He has nothing to learn from brand designers because metal bands are not something to sell, it is not about a pop music brand that needs a typography from a designers font library and a trendy cover to hit the billboard.

    Also, I can understand that some can be chocked by how similar it looks to a notebook from high school because it is probably in high school the last time you used pencil and paper to work on a detailed logo for someone.

    And finally I think this work is far from being good compared to his skills but act like designers, be curious, and check out his other stuff and you will realise how talented this guy is.

  • Tadeo Valencia

    It is so sad too read these rude comments from people who doesn't know anything about BM logos or Christophe's work.

    "Too many people have opinions on things they know nothing about. And the more ignorant they are, the more opinions they have."

  • BongBong

    These all seem like fairly weak treatments for a genre of music called "black metal." Most would look at home in an Edward Gorey illustration.

  • Tadeo Valencia

    Christophe Szpadjel has created some of the most iconic Black Metal bands' logos, it is no surprise for people familiar with the genre and his work that he usually takes cue from art nouveau and nature.

  • Louis Williams

    They remind of what some emo kid would do when they are trying to appear "Edgy"

  • Mike Dicker

    This comment about emo has no warrant. Christophe is a legend and has been doing logos for 30years!

  • Michael Hambouz

    Also, when I did this as a project, I did it because I was getting tired of seeing the metal-aesthetic being used as another zany kitschy cool thing to see on everything. That being said, you should totally make Fast Company onesies! Totes Adorbs :)

  • Michael Hambouz

    I'm a huge fan of Christophe's...but these are not so good..and I've already done this project as an artist. Sloooooow Company

  • Marginal Being

    I'm sorry, none of these seem very "Black Metal" or very much "metal" at all. Interesting to look at, but def not black metal.

  • Chris Noecker

    I have one of Christophe's logos tattooed on my back. A few years ago, he approached me about doing a logo of my pen name and I was thrilled and honored - so much so, that I later got it tattooed across my upper back. Christophe is a creative genius and an all around nice guy. :)