MTV Logo


Music with a capital letter sounds on the channel. The MTV logo shows admiration for magical chords. Broadcasts may only cover a small percentage of all the content created in the world, but they do it in style and taste.

MTV: Brand overview

Founded:August 1, 1981
Founder:Paramount Media Networks
Manhattan, New York State, U.S.
MTV is an American music channel launched in August 1981. In the first years, it was cable and later became terrestrial. The network is owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks and specializes in video clips, contemporary tracks, and songs from various genres. The head office is located in New York.

Meaning and History

MTV Logo History

Before becoming MTV, the channel was called The Music Channel and used a different logo. The only thing that unites them is the large “M” formed from the word “music” with a specific designation on the side. In the beginning, it was a note; now it is a “tv” icon – concept author – Manhattan Design agency.

What is MTV?

MTV stands for Music Television, an American 24-hour music channel. It is owned by MTV Entertainment Group, which is part of Paramount Media Networks. The channel was founded in 1981, and its headquarters is in New York City.

1977 – 1981 (pre-launch)

Sight on Sound Logo 1977-1981

First, Warner Cable started a channel called Sight on Sound. He was experimental and concerned with everything related to music. It was on its basis that the now-famous MTV was subsequently created. He had his badge, which exactly echoed the name. It was an improvised eye; therefore, it had a round shape, and the phrase “Sight on Sound” was compactly inscribed and occupied three rows – each with one word.

The lines were aligned on two sides. The legs “n” and “d” were connected to form a single solid line on the right. On the left, both capital “S” and “g” rested against the semicircle wall. The inscriptions were curly, with bold letters and smooth transitions. The lowercase “o” looked like an inverted recording microphone hanging from a stand.

1980 – 1981 (pre-launch)

MTV The Music Channel 1980

After it became clear that the music channel would not be called Sight on Sound but MTV, he needed a new logo. This version was not used for long and was changed before the official launch of the cable channel. The black acronym “MTV” in bold italic sans-serif was the center of attention. Between the “T” and “V” (in the background) was a wide diagonal line. And from “M” to “T” stretched a black hand in a white glove. It was tilted parallel to the second diagonal and partially covered the “T” standing next to it. The palm was squeezing a musical note like a grenade with a check, which, obviously, was supposed to symbolize explosive content. At the bottom, the phrase “THE MUSIC CHANNEL” was written in small but capital glyphs. The designers slightly deformed the text, tilting the letters to the right.

1981 – 1994

MTV Logo 1981-1994

After renaming the specialized channel, the Manhattan Design studio worked on its identity. In particular, Patty Rogoff (her representative) drew the monumental “M,” which everyone now knows, and Frank Olinsky (the designer of the same agency) drew the abbreviation “TV.” The process was led by Fred Seibert, who oversaw the rebranding of several channels. The background letter was in the shape of a cube and was three-dimensional, even though it consisted of only one outline. The inscription superimposed on it was executed in a thin “trembling” line. At the bottom was the black phrase “Music Television.” In style, it was strict and was considered decoding of the upper designation.

1994 – 2010

MTV Logo 1994-2010

From 01.08.1981 to 18.03.2009, the phrase “Music Television” was located under the emblem. Its shortened version was on the “M” on the right side. The white abbreviation on a dark background looked impressive; the right part of the “v” went beyond the inscription and was edged with a black line. The letter itself is massive, wide, thanks to the geometric projection; it is also three-dimensional. Due to the unique design of the logo, the music channel quickly gained wide recognition.

2010 – 2021

MTV Logo 2010-2021

In 2008, at the opening of FNMTV, the studio used a revised and truncated logo that flashed on the air of most television programs. And already from the next year, the updated sign became the official symbol of MTV, debuting on March 18, 2009, on the channel’s official website.

The bottom inscription “Music Television” disappeared from the logo because it was already recognizable and no longer needed marketing elements. The network switched to a different broadcasting format, sharply reducing the number of programs, focusing only on multi-format music. This shift in emphasis started earlier and got its final point in a small logo change. The second option was developed by MTV employees independently.

The current version looks like the chopped off “M” of the previous format. She is squat, with short legs and no protruding part of the letter “v.” It now has a lot more space, which was required to visually transform the sign into other custom logos, because the network has several separate directions. So she changes the logo in accordance with the necessary visual context because the trend of flexible design identity is very relevant now.

The letter “M” is more of a graphic than a text caption. It has a custom sans serif typeface. The “tv” sign contrasts with it, as it is handwritten in italics. The emblem’s color scheme is simple: a combination of black and white, where they act as a background for each other and create three-dimensionality.

2021 – today

MTV Logo 2021-present

The new logo appeared officially in mid-September 2021 and was first used at the Video Music Awards. Its developer is Loyalkaspar studio. The most important point in the modernization of the identity is the rejection of the three-dimensional effect. The letter “M” now stands exactly, literally in front of view. This is for the convenience of scaling the logo for advertising to be visible on all media types. At the same time, the designers offered a different custom-made font. All facets of the symbol are even, clear, and on the right leg in the negative space, the designation “TV” is visible. It has been kept the same.

MTV: Interesting Facts

MTV, standing for Music Television, changed the music and TV worlds when it launched on August 1, 1981. It started by showing music videos hosted by VJs (Video Jockeys) and quickly became a cultural icon, shaping music, fashion, and pop culture.

  1. First Video: The first video played was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, signaling a new era for music and MTV’s big impact.
  2. VJs Introduced: MTV made the Video Jockey (VJ) role famous, turning its first five VJs into stars. They helped shape MTV’s identity and connect with viewers.
  3. MTV Moonman: The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) started in 1984 and became a key music awards show. The “Moonman” trophy, which shows an astronaut on the moon, is based on MTV’s original logo.
  4. MTV Unplugged: In 1989, “MTV Unplugged” showed artists playing acoustic sets, leading to memorable performances by Nirvana, Eric Clapton, and Lauryn Hill and offering a new way to enjoy music.
  5. Beyond Music: MTV moved beyond just music videos to include reality shows, documentaries, and cartoons. “The Real World,” “Jersey Shore,” and “Beavis and Butt-Head” became cultural landmarks.
  6. Worldwide Influence: With its success, MTV launched international channels, adapting shows for different regions and expanding its global influence.
  7. Fashion and Language: MTV sets trends in fashion and slang, influencing how people dress and talk and showcasing its role as a pop culture trendsetter.
  8. Going Digital: As digital media grew, MTV expanded online, offering content through various platforms to meet changing viewer habits.
  9. Tackling Social Issues: MTV used its platform to address social and political issues, with campaigns like “Rock the Vote” aiming to engage young voters.
  10. Iconic Logo: MTV’s logo, known for its bold, graffiti-style “M” and adaptable design, became one of the most recognized symbols worldwide.

MTV evolved from playing music videos to becoming a multimedia giant, leaving a lasting mark on entertainment by influencing music, TV, and popular culture.

Font and Colors

MTV Emblem

During the modification of the logo, several types of typefaces were used in it: Helvetica Black (later transformed into Helvetica Neue Black), Kabel Black, and Gravity Grotesk (current version). The color scheme remained stable and consisted of a combination of black and white. The first was the large “M,” the second was the abbreviation “TV.”

MTV Symbol

MTV color codes

YellowHex color:#f7f907
RGB:247 249 7
CMYK:1 0 97 2
Pantone:PMS 396 C
Coral RedHex color:#fe3d3b
RGB:254 61 59
CMYK:0 76 77 0
Pantone:PMS Bright Red C
Ball BlueHex color:#20abc6
RGB:32 171 198
CMYK:84 14 0 22
Pantone:PMS 3125 C