Raymond Pettibon's Ubiquitous Black Flag Logo

Posted by Billyjam, June 10, 2013 04:35pm | Post a Comment

Ever since  Black Flag's instantly identifiable logo first surfaced several decades ago it has remained a ubiquitous image in popular culture. The simple yet distinctive logo, consisting of of four black bars, was designed back in the late 1970's by Raymond Pettibon - Black Flag founder Greg Ginn's brother who also came up with the band name and who can be credited for most of their artwork. Pettibon's Black Flag logo, which he reportedly hand drew in a brief session,  has long being an iconic symbol of Black Flag and the American hardcore punk movement itself - one seen and recognized all over the world - on T-shirts, stickers, and tattoos (lots of them like the neck Blag Flag tattoo on guys' neck pictured left).

Many people have their own take on the logo; one of my favorites is by director and motion artist Matt Lambert who views the barcode like logo as "one of the strongest marks ever created is the four-barred, minimalist rippling flag captured…..the antithesis of the white flag of surrender, symbolized the riotous youth of the LA and US punk scene." Lambert also noted how the logo can, which can be easily transposed to a stencil, has been adapted and appeared in spray paint across the world over the years. 

As well as fans the logo has also been copied and appropriated by many bands, party promoters, organizations, and individuals including the selection shown on this Amoeblog that include the feline themed "Black Flag / Cat Flag," the Yak Flag, the Batman themed Bat Flag, the Obama Barack Flag, Drag Flag, and (my favorite) the Snack Flag. Then there is the unlikely Justin Bieber Black Flag T-shirt - among the oddest appropriations of the logo here and  the sort of use that no doubt led to the caption below "You don't actually like Black Flag....You just think the logo's cool."  And down the very end is the Undefeated fashion company logo which looks like the Black Flag logo with an additional/fifth bar drawn across it.



The above logo for the Undefeated fashion company
adds on a fifth bar across the Black Flag logo

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Black Flag (28), Black Flag Logo (1), Raymond Pettibon (5)