The History of DG Logos

Deutsche Grammophon

A story of Deutsche Grammophon’s visual identity evolution

The First DG Trademark
On 6 December 1898, the Berliner brothers’ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft mbH was incorporated. Their original trademark was the “Recording Angel” (Schreibender Engel).

The Recording Angel trademark was also displayed on DG gramophones.

“His Master’s Voice”
On 10 July 1900, Deutsche Grammophon registered as its emblem Francis Barraud’s painting “His Master’s Voice”, depicting a dog sitting in front of a phonograph horn. From 1909, it superseded the Recording Angel and became the new trademark.
This little dog is a terrier called Nipper, who lived with a stage designer called Mark Barraud in Bristol. They often listened to music together. After Mark’s death, his brother Francis Barraud, an artist, took Nipper to live with him. He discovered that whenever he played music on the phonograph, the dog would come and sit in front of it, as he had with his late master. Moved by this scene, Barraud later painted a picture of Nipper listening to a wind-up machine. He later repainted it with a disc machine and sold the image to Emile Berliner’s company. 

The picture shows one of many 78s recorded by Caruso (1873-1921).

The Yellow Label
From 1948 onwards, Deutsche Grammophon was subdivided into three separate concerns, each with its own visual identity: popular music on Polydor (red), early music on Archiv (silver), and core classical music on Deutsche Grammophon (yellow). 

The tulip logo was born in 1949. This is an original sketch (pencil on tracing paper) of the “crown of tulips” designed by Hans Domizlaff (1892-1971).

Meanwhile, the "His Master's Voice"  trademark was made over to Electrola, the German branch of EMI. In a refinement that betrayed the changing times, the calligraphy used for the trademark was the same as that of the company logo. The yellow central band with trademarks on it was a distinctive feature on record sleeves of 1950s.

The layout of the tulips around the edge of the label was designed to create a stroboscopic effect, appearing stationary when the rotational speed of the record turntable was correctly adjusted.

On the eve of its 60th anniversary, the Yellow Label developed a new visual in the form of a cartouche (black type on a yellow background with a white inner border). The Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft trademark was featured over three lines, with the tulip crown resting on top.

The tulip emblem is still used today for historic recordings.

And now?
The visual identity of Deutsche Grammophon has changed and developed over the years. Now a special new logo has been designed to mark DG’s 120th anniversary, as shown here. 
Credits: Story

Text: Rémy Louis

Credits: All media
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