Biohazard, the Hardcore veterans from Brooklyn (New York), USA, originally formed in 1987, were one of the first to combine Hardcore with Hip Hop elements. They’ve released two demos (in 1988 and 1989), nine studio albums and two live albums (1997′s No Holds Barred is one of my favorite live albums of all times). They wrote legendary songs like Punishment, Tales from the Hard Side or Shades of Grey. As the band had to undergo several line-up changes throughout the years I would need a whole paragraph to mention all of them. But thanks to Wikipedia we have this amazing graph:
One important part of Biohazard’s popularity might be their iconic visual identity – primarily the biological hazard sign. It was developed by Dow Chemical Corporation in 1966. According to Charles Baldwin, an engineer who contributed to its development: “We wanted something that was memorable but meaningless, so we could educate people as to what it means.” (source). Creating empty vessels with significant and memorable characteristics you can fill with every message or association you want is actually common practice in various creative disciplines (for example for brand or product names).
The biohazard sign (as well as all other safety symbols) had to meet some major criteria: for example being unique, quickly recognizable, easily stenciled and symmetric (in order to be understandable from all angles of approach).