The History of and Story Behind the Guns N Roses Logo

Guns N' Roses

The iconic rock and roll band Guns N Roses has entertained audiences for decades. Through the years, the logo that the band has chosen has evolved into several different forms. Each representation of the band delivered significant meaning for fans that hung on every word uttered in song lyrics or press conferences held by members of the group. Fans have a habit of becoming familiar with everything related to their favorite musical groups and Guns N Roses was no exception. The logo has an interesting history and backstory. To fully understand the meaning of each iteration, we delve into its history from the first logo to their most recent design.

The history of Guns N Roses

To truly understand the meaning behind the Guns N Roses logo one must have a sense of the history of the band, their members and their joint mission. According to 1000 Logos, Guns N’ Roses officially became a band in 1985. They grew in popularity within two short years with the debut of their first album.They enjoyed a period of prosperity and popularity, but the departure of members McKagan and Slash caused a decline in the demand for their music. The two departed members came back to reform the band in 2016 and resumed a new page in the story of Guns N’ Roses.

The first Guns N’ Roses logo

The original logo for the band consisted of two roses with two highly stylized guns in the middle of the roses. These were the primary elements that were used through all versions of the emblems used in alternative logos for the group throughout the years. The name of the group Guns N’ Roses was written against a yellow background which drew attention to the name.

The meaning of the logo

For those of you who are not familiar with the history of Guns N’ Roses, the backstory about how the group formed is fascinating. Guns N’ Roses came together when members from two distinct bands joined forces. The names of the bands were Hollywood Roses and L.A. Guns. It made sense for the members to commemorate this blending of two groups by honoring both a mingling of the two names to come up with Guns N’ Roses. In case you were wondering how they came up with the guns and the roses, this is the story behind the development of the logo as well as the name of the band. The roses draw attention to the heightened emotions that are conjured through the music that the band played. The first logo was used from 1987 through 1989 until it alternate logos began to take the center stage.

The original logo that was used from 1987 to the present featured a gold circle with the name of the band in the background in black lettering. Two guns were placed in the middle of the circle which was cutout with a gray background. The guns were intertwined with a series of green vines which held the red roses on either side of the guns, centered on the sides of the inner circle so they extend partly in the gray area and also in against the yellow portion of the outer circle. The petals of the roses featured dew drops. Steven is the member of the band who is given credit for the creation of this version of the emblem. Versions of the original logo also appeared in silver against a black background.

The use of colors

We see a heavy reliance on the use of color within most of the logos, with the exception of the monochrome version in silver and black. The use of red, black and yellow points to the emotions stirred by the music played by the band. The lyrics and music combined moved audiences of tens of thousands to join together in a mutual admiration for the skill and talent of the artists as well as the way that the music caused them to feel.

The skull logo

Another version of the logo for Guns N’ Roses featured a set of revolvers along with a human skull taking the center part of the circular logo. A single rose is included. This is one of the most popular versions of the logo that ws commonly used in licensed merchandise. There was a controversy about who drew the skull logo. Some say that it was Slash, but Axl Rose denied this as being a fact. He gives the credit for creating the logo with the skull to Bill White, a tattoo artist.

Alternate original logos

According to Logos of the World, there was a second design created in 1987. Although it didn’t achieve the popularity or wide usage of the other logo considered to be the original, it was unique. A cross shaped emblem with five band members placed on the crossbars was introduced. The name of the band appeared in a gold and red banner across the top with the words “Appetite for Destruction” in black letters against a red background appearing at the bottom of the cross. This wasn’t one of the more popular alternates. There were a few different iterations that were used for the purpose of marketing band merchandise, but each contained the basic elements of the guns and the roses to honor the origins of the band.

Final thoughts

Guns N’Roses has only used a few different logos throughout the history of the band. They played heavily on the use of colors to show the emotions that the music was intended to inspire. We consistently see the imagery that pays its regards to the fact that two bands produced the members that make up Guns N’ Roses. Pride in their history is perpetuated through the symbolism. The logo illicits strong feelings for fans who easily recognize the colors and the images.


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