Billboard Logo

Billboard LogoBillboard Logo PNG

James Hennegan and William Donaldson probably never imagined that their black-and-white outdoor magazine would become an authoritative source of music news. They certainly did not envision that the Billboard logo would become world-famous and be displayed in music stores on every continent. Despite its simplicity, this logo is associated with the famous charts, which are considered indicators of success.

Billboard: Brand overview

Billboard magazine was originally a project of James H. Hennegan and William H. Donaldson, who worked in their family’s print shops. The magazine first went on sale on November 1, 1894, and was known as Billboard Advertising until 1897. The first issue was black and white and contained only eight pages featuring new products in the outdoor advertising industry. This explains the choice of name. It wasn’t until many years later that the publication shifted its focus to other topics, first to entertainment and then to the music business.

Meaning and History

Billboard Logo History

When Billboard evolved into a full-color weekly, it experimented with its logos because the publishers wanted the cover to look modern. Elegant retro fonts were replaced by stylish Latin and then austere grotesque. In 1966, the corporate mark appeared, which determined the further direction of design development. Initially, the multicolored rounded letters resembled vinyl records, but over time, they became associated with CDs. Many years later, the Pentagram team removed the multicolored fill, keeping the familiar font geometry.

What is Billboard?

Billboard is an American music publication. It has its own print magazine and news site, which publishes articles, reviews, expert opinions, analytics, and charts. The most prominent content is the Billboard charts covering popular albums and singles. These charts serve as a reference point for music lovers and music industry professionals alike.

1896 – 1905

The Billboard Logo 1896

In mid-1896, Billboard Advertising began featuring ads for tourist attractions, fairs, carnivals, and amusements. By February 1897, the second word in the title was removed. The magazine became known as The Billboard and was given a logo with the appropriate lettering divided into two lines. The retro design was in keeping with the trends of the time. The bold italic font was decorated with many small spikes, making the glyphs appear prickly. The letters “B,” “T,” and “e” had decorative extensions and swirls resembling the tops of twisted plants. The lower line consisted entirely of capital letters, which, combined with the red color, made the emblem very noticeable.

1905 – 1950

The Billboard Logo 1905

In September 1905, the first issues appeared, containing a regular column on music. That same year, the magazine updated its logo, using a more serious bold serif font for the word “Billboard.” The extensions and curves were retained only for the letter “h” in “The” article at the top. All but the initial letters were typed in lowercase. The black color conveyed the seriousness and competence of the publication.

1950 – 1961

The Billboard Logo 1950

The year 1950 is marked by two events in the history of Billboard. First, in November, the print magazine changed its format to a five-column tabloid. Second, the magazine’s logo was repainted with a pale orange hue and given a new bold font with contrasting stroke widths. The black shadows around the letters made the serifs more pronounced.

1961 – 1963

Billboard Music Week Logo 1961

In the early 1960s, the magazine was renamed Billboard Music Week to reflect its increased focus on music. During this period, the headline on the cover was in capital letters with serifs and colored red. The word on the top line was enlarged to the width of the second part of the lettering below.

1963 – 1966

Billboard Logo 1963

Returning the name “Billboard,” the magazine colored it orange. The new sans-serif typeface had an elongated shape and thickenings, making it look like Vernon Adams’ Oswald DemiBold.

1966 – 1984

Billboard Logo 1966

On July 16, 1966, the iconic logo design appeared, consisting of the round letters “b,” “o,” “a,” and “d”. The inside of the letters were colored in different shades of dark green, blue, pale yellow, and coral, respectively. At the same time, the lettering itself was black. The circles resembled small vinyl records, hinting at the specialization of the edition.

1984 – 2013

Billboard Logo 1984

The designers changed the typeface, adding descending lines to the letters “b” and “d” and replacing the round dot above the letter “i” with a small square. The letters “b,” “o,” and “a” were also shifted to remove the white space between them. The circles were given new colors: red, bright yellow, sky blue, and yellow with a green tint.

2013 – today

Billboard Logo

In 2013, design firm Pentagram rebranded Billboard, enlisting the support of Joe Levy (editor), Bill Verde (editorial director), and Andrew Horton (creative director). They redesigned the emblem, balancing its geometric shape. The joined letters “b,” “o,” and “a” no longer look isolated, as the spaces between the other letters have also become narrower. The colors in the circles have been removed, as the black and white logo gives the magazine the image of a serious print publication. However, due to the recognizable font, the wordmark retains its popularity.

Font and Colors

Billboard Emblem

The word “Billboard” is typed in a very bold geometric sans serif font. The thickness of all the strokes is about the same. The letters are lowercase, with narrow spacing, which makes the lettering compact. Pentagram’s designers kept the circular elements to capture the shape of the 1966 original.

Billboard Symbol

The main logo of the magazine is black and white, giving it a formal and presentable look. Alternatively, a multicolor version is used, in which the circles are painted green, red, yellow, blue, and orange.