Sub Pop, at 30, Explains Story Behind Its Iconic Logo

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Sub Pop Records

Celebrating 30 years in business as of August 1, Sub Pop Records “has become as emblematic of Seattle culture as Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft” in its first three decades, as the city’s alt weekly newspaper, The Stranger, notes.

Considered the launching pad for grunge music and legendary bands including Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden, Sub Pop is also known for its distinctive logo, at top. And it took this anniversary for the record to be set straight on its origins.

As The Stranger reported, based on a letter to the editor from Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt, the logo evolved in phases. Pavitt responded to its anniversary coverage with a clarification:

Great article on Sub Pop; however, here is the real history behind the logo: The Rocket magazine designer Wes Anderson created the foundation of the logo. In its first evolution, it served as a banner for my Sub Pop USA column, which first appeared in 1983. Three years later, in 1986, designer Dale Yarger cut the banner in half, and placed the SUB above the POP. This final logo was introduced when the first Sub Pop record, “Sub Pop 100,” came out in Sept of 1986.

That’s not filmmaker Wes Anderson he’s referring to, by the way, but Wes Anderson, the design director of The Village Voice who died at only 39 years old, in 1991, from cancer.

More on Sub Pop below:

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