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Open Manifesto

V&A buys Rolling Stones ‘Tongue’ logo for $92,500.

An essay by P.B.

{2nd of September 2008}


Editor's Note: This essay was originally posted by Patrick Burgoyne on the Creative Review blog. It is reprinted here with kind permission from Patrick Burgoyne.

In 1970, while still a student at the RCA [Royal College of Art, London), John Pasche designed a logo for the Rolling Stones that has become one of the most recognised pieces of graphic design in the world. He was paid £50. Today, the V&A [Victoria & Albert] Museum announced that it had bought the original artwork for $92,500. We talked to Pasche about the logo and working with the Stones…


You’re the lead singer in the biggest band in the world and you need someone to design a poster for your next tour—what do you do? If you’re Mick Jagger in 1970 you call up the Royal College of Art and ask them to recommend a student to do it.


So it was that John Pasche began a working relationship with the band that produced one of the most memorable and widely-recognised graphic devices ever created. Pasche was part of a talented group of graphics students at the college—his contemporaries including George Hardie [Open Manifesto #3] and Storm Thorgerson. Following Jagger’s phone call to the college, he went along for a meeting with the star, the upshot of which was a pastiche of a 1930s travel poster which was used to promote the Stones’ English tour that year.


Later, Jagger called back. The Stones were going to launch their own label and they needed a logo, could Pasche design it? He met with Jagger again where the singer “talked about things he liked and things he didn’t like, nothing too specific,” explains Pasche, “and then I just had this idea”.


(The rest of this article is available, in print, in Open Manifesto #5)


Patrick Burgoyne started at Creative Review magazine, the leading monthly for the visual communications industries, as a staff writer and has climbed up to the position of editor which he has held since 1999.


Before joining the magazine he worked in marketing, first for the Body Shop and later for the University of Westminster, whilst also moonlighting as a writer for magazines such as The Big Issue.


Patrick has also tried his hand at being an author, with several books on design and visual culture to his name such as (with Jeremy Leslie) Bored: Surf, Skate, Snow Graphics, and he has also written for many publications, including The Independent, Scotland on Sunday, Graphis and La Repubblica.