John Pasche

John Pasche

Experience the iconic hot lips logo of The Rolling Stones, a globally recognised symbol that embodies the spirit of rock and roll. Designed in 1970 by talented art student John Pasche, this emblem has become an enduring icon in popular culture.

Following the creation of the hot lips logo, John Pasche went on to hold prestigious positions in the art world, eventually becoming the Creative Director at the esteemed South Bank Centre.

Since its introduction in 1971, the hot lips logo has graced every Rolling Stones album, solidifying its status as a symbol known and cherished worldwide. The original artwork for this iconic tongue and lips logo is now preserved in the esteemed collections of the V&A.

Discover the artistic works of John Pasche and delve into the creative legacy behind The Rolling Stones' legendary hot lips logo.

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John Pasche Biography

The Rolling Stones’ famous hot lips logo is one of the world's most instantly recognisable symbols of rock and roll. It was created in 1970 by then art student John Pasche, who went on to become Art Director at United Artists (Music Division), Creative Director of Chrysalis Records Ltd and ultimately, Creative Director at the South Bank Centre.

Pasche was awarded a sought-after place at the Royal College of Art after graduating from Brighton, where he found himself working alongside George Hardy who was working on the album cover for Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon. Pasche was then himself recommended by the College to attend a meeting with Mick Jagger to discuss a commission for a Stones’ 1970 tour poster.

After the two discovered that they shared an interest in 1930s and ‘40s posters, he came up with the idea of departing from the traditional image of the band and produced a retro travel poster with Concorde flying overhead. The design met with approval and as a result John was commissioned to create a logo.

In a second meeting at his Cheyne Walk home, Mick Jagger showed John a picture he liked of the Hindu goddess Kali. Kali is generally portrayed with a pointed red tongue which has had many interpretations over the years, from a weapon or a symbol of blood to a defiant gesture designed to tease, mock or provoke. John immediately began to envisage the concept that would translate into one of the most famous images in our cultural history.

The hot lips logo expressed an idea in a way that was both simple and striking, and it had the added advantage of remaining easily recognisable even when greatly reduced in size. It was first used in 1971 as an insert to the album Sticky Fingers, and then became the official logo for the band’s record label, Rolling Stones Records. Since then it has been used on every album they have released and is known all over the world.

When asked whether the logo was based on the famous Jagger lips, John says no, but believes he may have been unconsciously influenced. He believes that one reason the design has stood the test of time is because, “It’s a universal statement, I mean sticking out your tongue at something is very anti-authority, a protest really… various generations have picked that up.”

Since 1970 John has been garlanded with countless awards, has held some of the most high-profile creative posts in the country and has lectured at the Royal College of Art. The original artwork for the tongue and lips logo is held in the collections of the V&A.

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