The band's smiley face logo was first used on a Nevermind album flyer. It was inspired by a Seattle strip club marquee. Cobain reportedly enjoyed the smiley face's slapdash comedy. The band was a success, but it was not without controversy. The smiley face logo on Nirvana merch has been the subject of much debate.
In an interesting twist, the smiley face logo has been subject of a long-standing legal battle. Marc Jacobs' copyright management company, Nirvana, and Robert Fisher have sued over the smiley face logo. The former art director of Geffen/UMG Records claims that he designed the smiley face logo in 1991. While Fisher have denied this, they have not yet settled the case.
Nirvana's first official T shirt was released in 1993, the year they signed to the major label Sub Pop. It featured the band's controversial artwork depicting a winged pregnant woman. The shirts were produced in two-color variations and featured full color prints on white. The artwork is still in demand today, but its design has spawned several controversy-filled designs. Here's a look at the history of the design and how it came to be.