The Beatles are arguably the most popular group of all-time and the Fab Four’s contribution to music, film, literature and art, and fashion has spanned generations. But what about the famous Beatles’ logo. Was it designed by a band member or someone else entirely?
Known as the “Drop-T” design, the now famous Beatles’ logo was based on an impromptu sketch by instrument retailer and designer Ivor Arbiter in 1963.
The logo was first used on the front of drummer Ringo Starr‘s bass drum, which Beatle’s manager Brian Epstein and Starr purchased from Arbiter’s London shop Drum City.
According to Arbiter: “I had a phone call from the shop to say that someone called Brian Epstein was there with a drummer. Here was this drummer, Ringo, Schmingo, whatever his name was. At that time I certainly hadn’t heard of the Beatles. Every band was going to be big in those days!
To fulfill the request, Arbiter hastily sketched the “drop-T” logo on a scrap of paper. The artwork, for which Drum City was paid £5, was executed by a local sign-writer, Eddie Stokes, who painted bass-drum heads for the store during his lunch hour.
Initially a saxophone repairer and swing drummer, Arbiter made his name in drums, the design, manufacture and sale of which he was involved with for over 40 years. Arbiter tinkered in other musical areas and in the 1980s he was responsible for bringing karaoke to Britain. In 2001, Arbiter received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Music Industries Association before passing away in 2005. The Beatles logo has recently found a new, and younger, audience with the release of The Beatles version of Rock Band.
This is part of an ongoing series of So You Think You Know Logos? Each day, we’ll publish information, interesting trivia and back stories about famous logos. Every Friday, we’ll publish a quiz that will feature that week’s featured designs, as well as a few surprise additions. To keep up in the latest logo design trivia, subscribe to our blog via e-mail or through your favorite news reader.