“It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer”: the man who created AC/DC’s iconic logo on how it came about (2024)

By Niall Doherty

( Classic Rock )


Gerard Huerta was inspired by a Blue Öyster Cult idea he’d discarded

“It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer”: the man who created AC/DC’s iconic logo on how it came about (1)

In the very competitive field of excellent rock logos, AC/DC’s is right up there. A good way to judge just how perfectly it suits the Aussie legends – jagged, barbed, imposing, timeless, mega, mega cool – is to have a look at their albums in the period before they had it. It just looks plain odd not being there, almost like it’s another band who just happen to feature a grown man in a school uniform playing a Gibson SG. You can even tell the band’s own dissatisfaction with their typography as their logo shapeshifts from record to record. On debut High Voltage, they’ve got a lean, italicised version that looks like it should belong to a new wave band or a small airline. On TNT, they went for a stencilled vibe that looked rough and ready but hardly stood out. Then there was Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’s monstrous effort, flappy wording in 80s neon, like something you’d see on a van in the background on Miami Vice.

“It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer”: the man who created AC/DC’s iconic logo on how it came about (2)

It was with Let There Be Rock that their now-classic typeface entered the fray, and designer Gerard Huerta recently told BBC 6 Music how it came about. “The idea actually came from something I had done for Blue Öyster Cult in 1975,” he said. “The album was called On Your Feet Or On Your Knees and it was a picture of a church so I thought it was might be interesting to use Gutenberg Bible Lettering for this but because there was a big Cadillac limousine in front of the church, I turned it into a car mark. So recalling that, when AC/DC came along with Let There Be Rock, which of course is a take off on a Bible saying, I went back to this Gutenberg style of lettering and then fit the letters together so that they would create a nice lock up.”

And with that, history was made. Although Huerta also explained that out of all the jobs he’s done, the AC/DC logo is the one he makes fun of because it flies in the face of good-design convention. “It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer,” he said. “It’s interesting to see the generational thing because I see little kids wearing AC/DC T-shirts, which blows my mind because it’s 47-years-old.” Perhaps its simplicity is the key though, and the reason why Huerta’s straight line classic has stood the test of time.

“It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer”: the man who created AC/DC’s iconic logo on how it came about (3)

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“It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer”: the man who created AC/DC’s iconic logo on how it came about (4)

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.

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“It’s all done out of straight lines and that is not the mark of a good lettering designer”: the man who created AC/DC’s iconic logo on how it came about (2024)


Who created the ACDC logo? ›

25-year-old Gerard Huerta created the now-iconic design in April of 1977. He also designed the logo for High Voltage.

What does ACDC stand for? ›

A.C./D.C. is an abbreviation for alternating current/direct current electricity. The brothers felt that this name symbolised the band's raw energy and the power-driven performances of their music.

Where did AC/DC get their name from? ›

"AC/DC" is an abbreviation for "alternating current/direct current," which refer to the two different types of charges used in electricity. The band chose the name because of their energetic “electrical” style of playing rock and roll.

What happened to AC/DC lead singer? ›

' On February 19, 1980on a freezing London morning, found deadinside a Renault 5, to the singer of AC DC. She had only 33 years. The official cause of death: alcohol poisoning and accidental death due to asphyxiation on his own vomit. It was the end of what is considered one of the great rock vocalists of all time.

How did ACDC get their logo? ›

Cover of the album 'Let There Be Rock', the first to feature the AC/DC logo designed by Gerard Huerta. It is still being used today. He explains the creation of the logo: “The shapes of the letters are inspired by the Gutenberg Bible, which is the first printed book.

When did DC change their logo? ›

DC Entertainment announced a new identity and logo for another iconic DC Comics universe brand on May 17, 2016. The new logo was first used on May 25, 2016, in conjunction with the release of DC Universe: Rebirth Special #1 by Geoff Johns.

What is ACDC in jail? ›

The musician will appeal Marty Melville/AFP/Getty. Phil Rudd, the beleaguered former AC/DC drummer who pleaded guilty to charges of threatening to kill and possession of marijuana and methamphetamine earlier this year, was sentenced to eight months of home detention by a New Zealand judge.

Why is ACDC unique? ›

One of the most iconic aspects of AC/DC is their signature sound. From the pounding drums to the scorching guitar riffs, their music is instantly recognizable. This sound is often imitated but never quite duplicated, and it's what sets AC/DC apart from other bands.

What do Australians call AC/DC? ›

It's a running joke for us Australians to call AC/DC by their given nickname “Acca-Dacca” as you know.. But honestly it's in the band's name!

Who replaced Bon Scott? ›

On April 1, 1980, after losing their former lead singer, Bon Scott, AC/DC announced that Brian Johnson would be the band's new voice.

How many singers has ACDC had? ›

The band has had two distinctive lead singers, and fans tend to divide its history into the “Bon Scott era (1974-80)” and the “Brian Johnson era (1980-present)”. Most fans will agree that lead guitarist Angus Young (Now living In The Netherlands) is the face of AC/DC, appearing on the cover of most albums.

Who went deaf in ACDC? ›

Soon after, Johnson had to leave the band due to hearing loss. There was a time when singer Brian Johnson might have felt better crashing into a wall at 180 mph than living the rest of his life without being able to perform anymore with legendary rock band AC/DC.

Who is replacing Brian Johnson in AC/DC? ›

This weekend was a big news weekend for AC/DC. We learned from one statement that Brian Johnson is definitely out of the band and that Axl Rose will be the replacement for the already scheduled European tour and the upcoming rescheduled US tour at the very least.

Who was the last singer for AC DC? ›

Brian Johnson fronted AC/DC between 1980 and 2016, at which point Johnson retired due to hearing loss issues. AC/DC was fronted by Axl Rose for the remainder of their tour, and rumors began circulating that the band was working on new material with the Guns N' Roses frontman.

Who created AC DC power? ›

During their bitter dispute, dubbed the War of the Currents, Edison championed the direct-current system, in which electrical current flows steadily in one direction, while Tesla and Westinghouse promoted the alternating-current system, in which the current's flow constantly alternates.

What is the ACDC font called? ›

The font used is Shatter, note the original slash in the font below, so as usual, you'd need to draw the lightning bolt by hand to match the logo.

Who owns ACDC copyright? ›

Their entire catalog is owned by the Australian company that originally signed them, and it is administered by SONY. This is the band that has made the same album ten times.

Why did AC DC make Thunderstruck? ›

Lyrically, it was really just a case of finding a good title ... We came up with this thunder thing, based on our favourite childhood toy ThunderStreak, and it seemed to have a good ring to it. AC/DC = Power. That's the basic idea.

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