Designer: Stanley Owsley
Year created: 1976
Over the years a number of logos and designs were used to promote the Grateful Dead, the biggest band to emerge from San Francisco's psychedelic scene. Images such as the "Dancing Bears," "Skull and Roses," and "Uncle Sam Skeleton," all helped in a continuous-motion of branding. None of those logos are considered more popular than the "Steal Your Face Skull" which first debuted on the Steal Your Face double-live album in 1976.
Stanley Owsley, a soundman for the Dead (and, er, recreational pharmacist), conveyed the initial idea to Bob Watson. Watson's original sketch consisted of a lightning bolt within a circle. A short time later the evolving logo was made into a spray-paint stencil by Ernie Fischbach to identify equipment easier. The skull was a later addition to the circular lightning bolt, with the latter replacing the top of the skull.