Digging through the archives I stumbled across this letter, dated July 16th, 1979. Attached to it is a very special piece of Virgin history... the design for the Virgin logo.
Virgin Logo branding letter
Some people might remember that when we first started Virgin Records we had a rather complex logo. The original logo was designed by the great English artist and illustrator Roger Dean and, as you can see below, featured a set of naked twins sitting in front of a psychedelic tree with a dragon by their side.
It was an embodiment of the early-70s and really summed up the feel of the brand and the artists we represented. However by the time 1977 rolled around, and we’d signed The Sex Pistols, the logo began to feel a little dated, and didn’t overly reflect the direction we were headed.
Old Virgin Logo
So we went about coming up with a suitable replacement. We wanted something a little less hippy and a little more edgy and punk; plus, we had plans to expand into other industries so we wanted something that was stylishly simple.
In fact, the origins of our now iconic logo were so simple… a young designer came to meet me on my houseboat, and while we were talking scribbled the design on a paper napkin. That was it. I loved it immediately. It looked like a signature. It had attitude. It had energy. It was in-your-face simplistic.
virgin logo on napkin_0.jpg
As you can see in the letter above, we made it the official signature of the Virgin brand in mid-1979. Since then it’s disrupted everything from air travel to banking, and health clubs to hotels to become one of the world’s most recognisable brands.
Richard Branson and Virgin branding
Over the years it has seen various refinements: from a napkin scrawl, to a blobby version, to the spray painted logo you know today.
Virgin logo through time.jpg
But it’s always remained simple. Why? Because simplicity has always been, and will always be, the key to the way we do business at Virgin.