The two-tone sound was developed by young musicians in Coventry, West Midlands, England who grew up hearing 1960s Jamaican music. They combined influences from ska, reggae and rocksteady with elements of punk rock and new wave. Bands considered part of the genre include The Specials, The Selecter, Madness, The Beat, Bad Manners, The Bodysnatchers and Akrylykz.
The term was coined by The Specials' keyboard player Jerry Dammers, who—with the assistance of Horace Panter and graphic designer John "Teflon" Sims—created the iconic Walt Jabsco logo (a man in a black suit, white shirt, black tie, pork pie hat, white socks and black loafers) to represent the two-tone genre. The logo was based on an early album cover photo of Peter Tosh, and included an added black-and-white check pattern.
Most of the bands considered to be part of the two-tone genre were signed to 2Tone Records at some point.