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
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.
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.
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
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
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 – 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.
Font and Color of the 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.”