Last November, graphic designer George Adams was invited to pitch on a rebrand for a veritable music legend – Sir Elton John. “The logo needed to be timeless, befitting his musical gravitas, while still capturing the energy and playful visual style he’s known for,” George tells It’s Nice That.
George’s logo for Elton emulates all that, referencing the musician’s iconic star-glasses with a classic capital ‘E’ with a star at its centre. “Elton always makes a big impact through his costumes, stage design and album covers,” he continues, “so for a designer it provided a wealth of iconic images and associations to explore.
“I’ll admit, to distil this all into a single symbol was quite intimidating. It needed something that would appeal to his core music following as well as sitting pretty alongside the fashion world and appealing to a younger generation; something that would stand the test of time. What stood out for me the most when reviewing his style throughout the years was his eccentric eyewear, the most iconic of these being his star glasses – these formed the basis of the symbol."
Once the logo was established, George then developed design guidelines for the rest of Elton John’s visual identity. This included the colour palette, textures, typography and layout framework, as well as stationery, tour shop designs and stage visuals.
“I used black and white as the main colours in the palette, inspired by Elton’s instrument – the piano. Flashes of sparkling gold and bright magenta contrast the classic black and white feel whilst adding some ‘pop’,” says George.
The grid for layouts was developed based on angles of the star icon, and typography for the rest of the identity was developed with typographer Miles Newlyn. “Elton and his team were after something modern and timeless. We developed a bespoke wordmark based on the font Verlag.”
Now the identity is being rolled out on Elton’s world tour, for which George has also been working on T-shirts and other merch with Smith & Agar, and it’ll also be used for everything Elton-related in future.