Sunday, December 20, 2009


A 'hood legend for his precise pen-and can control, HAZE made an indelible mark on hip hop history with lucid logos.

"I was on a mission to not do the predictable graffiti thing"

In 1972, at the age of 11, Eric Haze started spraying his name all over New York City. Eleven years later, as a student at the School of Visual Arts, he gained advanced technical and conceptual skills and went on to apply his graf training to art direction. He designed classic covers like LL cool J's BAD (Bigger and Deffer), as well as logos for EPMD, Tommy Boy, Cold Chillin' and many others. Today, HAZE, 44, runs his self-titled design and clothing company and has homes in New York and Los Angeles.

When LL came to my studio to discuss Bigger and Deffer, he said to me, "Yo, Haze, I know you can hook up that graffiti shit, hook up some fat graf." And I was like, Yo, L this isn't a breakbeats album. we wanna come some more hardcore shit. I was on a mission to not do the predictable graffiti thing, whether it was to prove to myself, or heads, or other designers that there's a much more technically proficient way to deal with lettering. it wasn't just about copping a tag for everybody. L agreed, so I did what I did, which was much more hard-core B-boy style. You have to remember I did this and EPMD before I had a computer, so I did them all by hand. I had to work them out mathematically on tissue paper, draw them with a rapidograph, and clean them up on photostat paper. Anyway, I get the proof back from CBS, and this is like my favorite shit. I showed LL and he said, "Yo, that shit looks like gettin' paid, kid!" That was the ultimate B-boy compliment.

Leggo My Logo
Haze Critques the emblems that followed in his sizable footsteps.

BAD BOY: Bad Boy has a graf type of character, but it's not very universal in that sense and became quickly dated as a result. It lacks a timeless and universal quality that makes for greatness.

RUFF RYDERS: This works. It's an ill gangsta R. It can translate across mediums. Some logos look good on an album cover, but will it make a dope pendant? Does it work half an inch tall? Does it work 10 stories tall with the same feeling? Ruff Ryders is good.

DEATH ROW: It's not the friendliest logo I've ever seen. It serves its purpose, although the lettering looks like somebody hit a button on a computer, which doesn't rate to high in my world. I'll stop there with my honest opinion for fear of my life.

ROC-A-FELLA: It's definitely nothing special. It's like generic hip hop illustration-- it doesn't set itself apart from anything, and it isn't too merchandise friendly. The Rocawear visuals are better than Roc-A-Fella's, from what I see.

NOTE: The above article, by Nate Denver, originally ran in an issue of VIBE magazine (publication date is unknown).

Eric Haze photo: Christian Pyle


  1. Still has one of the illest handstyles EVER...

  2. Kaseem:


    Yeah. Haze Is one of my graphic design favorites. HE always has been. He designed a logo for a label called Q west and it is a favorite Haze joint of mine. His design solution was so simple but yet unique. The best logotypes have this in common-- a simple design solution.


  3. Very dope DW; thanks for sharing this. Hmmm, "Qwest" you say, sounds familiar....Wasn't that Quincy Jones' record label for a minute back in the day? released that 'Q's Juke Joint' & 'Back On The Block' album's?