Tales From Noise (Part 1: Kreator)

15 Jul

In the mid-80s we were working for Modern Music, a record label in Berlin. Apart from designing the covers for their “Diadem” releases we did a lot of stuff for their heavy metal label, Noise Records. As the covers were mostly painted by a guy called Lawvere, we were only involved at the printing stage – we had to make sure that the bass player’s scribbles for the inner sleeve were printable, and sleeve notes (usually six sheets of bad handwriting) were submitted for typesetting with instructions about the correct size and font (usually something gothic or “germanic”).

In April 1985 Karl the label boss (“they all want 1500!”) sent us a sketch for a logo from a young band from Essen.

They weren’t sure about their new name at this point (they were still called “Tormentor”), but Karl suggested we design something “like Iron Maiden”. He also decided spelling the name with a “K”.

Several suggestions, more sketches from the drummer, and a couple of mock-ups followed, until a final decision was made:

Apart from producing a printer-friendly line drawing (done with our trusty Rotring pens on thick artboards from Scotland) our biggest contribution to the Kreator logo probably was that we could convince the Noise guys to forget about “steel finish”, dripping blood, and their usual 3-D and airbrush effects – it was supposed to be a classic “trademark” that could be used in any colour and appearance. Luckily the band was quite good and successful, and they’re still using the logo nowadays, three decades later.

The logo was first shown on their debut album, which of course came with a Lawvere cover. The album title was decided at the last minute (by Karl, naturally), and we had to produce a line drawing of the phrase “Endless Pain” while a bicycle courier on his way to the printers was waiting in our studio.

Here’s the original LP cover, and Phil Lawvere’s painting in full:

Kreator’s Noise albums have just been reissued on CD.

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