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Branding, General / 7 years ago

The cream of superlogos

This months Superlogo is one of my personal top 5 favourite logos of all time. It was the marque that epitomised the crème de la crème of superclub branding in the 90’s, the world famous spinning propeller — The Cream nightclub logo.

It may not have the historical baggage of some of the logo superheavy weights, but when it comes to elegance and form it is up there with the best of them.

20 years after it’s inception the logo itself still looks as fresh and ultra modern as ever. In fact I would go as far as to say that I can’t see this marque dating any time soon. The typeface maybe — but not a beautifully simple shape such as this. This is another example that simplicity tends to equal longevity when it comes to logo design.

If you don’t already know, “Cream was the club that turned a dusty warehouse into the country’s most popular dance-floor, that got people to queue through Liverpool’s streets hour after hour and inspired students to apply to the city’s universities in their droves. Cream then staged its first event in Ibiza in 1994 and continues to host one of the biggest club nights on the island at Amnesia, and has become the longest running UK Club night to stage events on the party isle. With Ibiza’s cosmopolitan crowd the Cream story soon began to spread around the world and the company was soon organising events in places as varied as Buenos Aires to Moscow. The company now stages over 100 events annually and its international activity has gone on to become one of the company’s greatest achievements.” Emma Johnson

It has booked stars like Kylie Minogue, made household names out of men who played other people’s records and the lovely logo is recognised the world over.

The creative genius behind the Cream logo and branding was Rob Petrie. Here is a fascinating quote from the man himself:

“In 1993 I was a designer at Farrow when we were commissioned by Darren Hughes and James Barton the founders of Cream to design a logo for them. The brief was pretty loose but I remember Darren saying something like making it look ‘ classic like the Nike logo’. The early logo ideas were very much coming from the influence of Japanese car manufacturers logos – Toyota and Mitsubishi, where the logo is constructed of three interlocking elements that create the unified whole. As I then started using drop shapes referencing the actual name I was also trying to create something that was more organic yet had a subtle timeless strength to it, the Yin Yang symbol being an unlikely inspiration. When the final logo design revealed itself it was pretty obvious it was going to be the one that was chosen.


After featuring it on full page ads in pages of The Face, Ministry and Mixmag magazines it then featured on it’s first CD sleeve ‘Cream Live’ – which was produced in five different colours of rubber. At this point I saw what was for me the most memorable incarnation of it as a 10cm high tattoo on a sweaty clubber on the dancefloor at Cream. Not sure how he’ll explain that one to the grand kids.

In 1995 myself and fellow designer Phil Sims set up Dolphin Design as Mark (Farrow) left to form Farrow Design as we now know it. We continued with the Cream ads giving life to the logo and showing it’s versatility by having it photographed made out of chrome, made into a snow dome, made of flowers, made into a leather chair etc. Around about this time we were quite often approached with the brief of ‘can you give us something like the Cream logo you did?’

We also started creating the ads and sleeves for Renaissance nightclub, a competitor to Cream, featuring a whole range of natural objects – eggs, butterflies, flowers and leaves. Probably the most memorable campaign was the sleeves and posters was for The Mix Collection 4 which featured 3 different coloured leaves.” Rob Petrie

The beauty of such a simple but distinctive marque is that it is extremely versatile. So versatile in fact, Cream have used the logo in one form or another in most of their marketing materials for the last 20 years. The logo has metamorphosed from leather chairs, to futuristic 3D graphics. From tattoos to teeth braces. In whatever guise it appears the marque is always instantly recognisable.

As you may have gathered I was bang into dance music and often frequented Cream back in its hey day in the mid 90’s. So for a design student into the scene, the Cream branding and in particular the legendary Cream and Renaissance flyers were a huge inspiration for me and helped to mould my own design style.

Robin Arnold — Creative director