MTV Logo

This page is about the meaning, origin and characteristic of the symbol, emblem, seal, sign, logo or flag: MTV Logo.

Image of the MTV Logo

The MTV logo was designed in 1981 by Manhattan Design, a collective formed by Frank Olinsky, Pat Gorman and Patty Rogoff, under the guidance of MTV's original creative director, Fred Seibert. The 'M' was sketched by Rogoff, with the 'TV' spray painted by Olinksky.

Throughout MTV's early days, the channel's main logo was a large yellow "M" with red letters "TV," but unlike most networks' logos, the MTV logo constantly morphed and adapted with different colors, patterns and images filling in the large block letter. The very first moments of MTV featured an adaptation of the first landing on the moon, directly from NASA still images (a concept of Seibert's, executed by Buzz Potamkin and Perpetual Motion Pictures). After the "moon landing," as well as the top of every hour until at least the mid-1980s (which ran "more than 15,000" times each year, according to Seibert), featured a rapidly changing network ID logo that changed its appearance several times per second. The only constant aspects of MTV's logo at the time were its general shape and proportions; everything else was dynamic.

The channel's "I want my MTV!" image and branding campaign was launched in 1982. The media strategy and creative executions were developed by George Lois, based on a cereal commercial from the 1950s, "I want my Maypo!" that George created. Over the years the campaign featured known artists and celebrities including Pete Townshend, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, David Bowie, The Police, Kiss, Culture Club, Billy Idol, Hall & Oates, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Lionel Richie, Ric Ocasek, John Mellencamp, Peter Wolf, Joe Elliot, Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield and Mick Jagger interacting with the MTV logo on-air, encouraging viewers to call their cable or satellite providers and request that MTV be added to their local channel lineups. Eventually, the slogan became so ubiquitous it became incorporated as a sung (by Sting) lyric in the Mark Knopfler penned Dire Straits' record "Money for Nothing."

MTV's original 1981 logo features dynamic patterns and images; MTV's 2010 logo features dynamic photographs.

Once MTV's original morphing logo had run its course, the channel began to use a solid color white logo that was otherwise the same as the original. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, MTV updated its on-air appearance at the beginning of every year and again each summer, creating a consistent brand across all of its music-related shows. This style of channel-wide branding came to an end as MTV drastically reduced its number of music-related shows in the early to mid-2000s. At this time, MTV introduced a static, single-color digital on-screen graphic during all of its other programming.

Since the premiere of the short-lived FNMTV in 2008, MTV has used a revised, chopped version of its traditional logo during most of its on-air programming. This new logo was finalized and formally became MTV's official brand mark on February 8, 2010, when it debuted on MTV's website. The channel's long-running official tagline "Music Television" was officially dropped at this time. The revised logo is largely the same as MTV's original logo, but it excludes the "Music Television" caption, the bottom section of the "M" block letter, and the trailing letter "V" that branched off to the side of the original logo. However, much like the ever-changing patterns that filled MTV's original 1981 logo, the new 2010 logo is designed to be filled in with an unlimited variety of pictures and images. It is used worldwide, but not in all countries. It was first adopted for MTV Films with the 2010 release Jackass 3D. MTV's rebranding was overseen by Popkern.

Graphical characteristics:
Asymmetric, Closed shape, Monochrome, Contains both straight and curved lines, Has crossing lines.

Category: Corporate Brands.

More symbols in Corporate Brands:

Just as a nation's flag expresses the distinct identity of a country, so, too, a logotype — typically a symbol or letters — helps to establish the name and define the character of a corporation. … read more »

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"MTV Logo." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 30 Aug. 2014. <http://www.symbols.com/symbol/2075>.

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