A stunningly simple text logo represents Brit alt band Muse. What’s the font? You’ll have to read to find out. We’ll also take a look at some odd similarities between the Muse debut EP cover and Terry Gilliam’s 1995 sci-fi flick, Twelve Monkeys.

So You Think You Know LogosBritish band Muse got their start in 1994 when under the name Rocket Baby Dolls they entered, and won, a local battle of the bands contest. Shortly after the contest, the three members – Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard – decided to quit their jobs, change the band name to Muse, and move away from Teignmouth, their home town.

The Muse trademark.

Officially, the band chose the name because it was short and after someone suggested that the reason that a lot of bands were forming around Teignmouth due to “a muse hanging about.” The band name was successfully trademarked by Bellamy on 21st July 1999, leading to numerous legal actions and skirmishes, including one with Canadian songstress Celine Dion. In 2002, Dion planned to name her Las Vegas show “Muse” and even offered $50,000 for the rights to do so. The band rejected the offer:

“We didn’t want to turn up (in Las Vegas) with people thinking we’re Celine Dion’s backing band.”


The 12 Monkeys Connection?

One odd, and often discussed aspect of the Muse name and logo, is in relation to Terry Gilliam‘s sci-fi movie Twelve Monkey‘s starring Bruce Willis. In one scene (below,) Willis’ character is looking at a series of posters that have been plastered over lamp standards and walls. One of the posters that Willis’ character tears down announces a Muse performance at a club called The Vortex.bruce-willis-muse-logo-12-monkeysThe poster goes on to make quite a few appearances throughout the flick. Here’s the thing – the image and logo look strangely similar to Muse’s first self-named EP release.
That limited edition was limited to 999 copies with each copy featuring hand numbered stickers and is a highly prized collector’s item. According to the band, the cover features colored photocopies of Dominic Howard’s face (he designed the cover as well.) Twelve Monkeys was released in 1995 while the band’s debut recording wasn’t released until 3 years later in 1998 suggesting that the logo and artwork was inspired by the film.

No official word, but fan forum discussions often turn to arguments of the ‘chicken and the egg’ variety.

The Muse logo font?

A question often posed on fan forums is regarding the font used in the simply design. That would be Fruitiger 75 Black, designed by Adrian Frutiger and distributed by Linotype. As an aside, the cover for Muse’s latest album, The Resistance, designed by London based design company La Boca, won the Best Art Vinyl Award 2009, for its artwork (below).


On a personal note, the Mrs and I took in Muse at the ACC Centre when they were in town in March. Let me tell you this – Bellamy and the boys put on one helluva show. I’ve been attending rock concerts for over 35 years and I’ve never been blown away by lightning and staging wizardry like I was that night. Muse have a reputation of being one of the premier live acts today, and it’s very well earned.
Muse in concert ACC Center TorontoI’ve added a couple of my personal pics from the show (above and below) which prove, overall, 3 things.

1) an iPhone is a remarkably bad way to photograph any concert,
2) our seats weren’t the best (but the show still rocked) and
3) concert promoters should probably rethink the “recording devices and cameras prohibited at tonight’s performance” caveats on the back of tickets.
Muse in concert

This is part of an ongoing series of So You Think You Know Logos? Every once in a while, we’ll publish information, interesting trivia and back stories about famous logos. We’ll also publish a quiz that will feature these 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.