Site icon

MTV Logo Design History and Evolution

MTV Logo Design History and Evolution

MTV was first launched in the 1980s, and from that point on it began revolutionizing the music industry. The company was young, hip, and broke all the rules – and, in time, helped to establish what modern television would become. It not only brough the world music videos, but also pioneered reality television. It is the seed from which modern TV grew. The MTV logo is a great deal like the station itself. A major rule-breaker at the time, it’s now part of the fabric of modern TV. This article will explore how the logo works as well as the changes under which it has gone since its inception.

 MTV Logo Design Elements

The MTV logo is iconic and simple. The letter M with the stylized letters TV imposed over the top makes the company easily identifiable, both in terms of name and mark. The logo announces exactly what the station is when viewed, with absolutely no question that it could be anything else. The logo was initially meant to advertise that MTV was something new and different, but the minor facelift of the logo has the effect of announcing that the station is now essentially part of the musical establishment.

The color and font of MTV, on the other hand, are decidedly modern. It’s monochrome, dropping the old reliance on bright colors and flashy videos in favor of MTV’s more modern depiction. The font is very similar to what it’s always been, albeit shaped up a bit for the modern era was a larger M and a smaller, more stylized TV logo. This helps to make the channel stand out when viewed on a modern guide, though it also has the effect of making the channel look somewhat more adult and less rebellious than in the past.

Changes and Evolution



The original shape of the MTV logo is identical to the shape of today. In fact, the only real change is one of scale – the M used to be slightly smaller, and the TV portion slightly smaller. This was likely done to emphasize that the channel really was one that showed music on television, something that has become significantly less important as MTV made the move towards reality television.


Color has always been a mutable part of MTV’s logo, This is largely a part of the company’s television heritage, a reminder that music videos were constantly changing and in motion. The original logo used yellow, blue, and red, which helped to show off a range of colors on a television. The original color scheme was also very much in line with the fashions of the 1980s and 1990s, which helped the network look hip during its heyday but that unfortunately made it – and its content – look a bit dated until the rework of the logo.


Interestingly enough, MTV’s font has changed much during its lifetime. The original featured a ‘TV’ emblem that looked a bit more hand-drawn than the current design, but not by much. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to tell that much of a change had occurred at all, helping to keep MTV’s branding largely the same in the eyes of the public.

Influences/ Inspiration

If there’s a single inspiration to MTV’s design, it’s the medium on which the station airs – television. The logo was meant to be as mutable as the videos that aired on the station, always able to change and adapt to the demands of the format. It is very much a logo that is of the 1980s, eschewing traditional design rules and ultimately becoming something more than the sum of its parts.

MTV is one of the first truly modern bits of television logo design and many others have aped the company’s logo. One of the most clear copycats in the mid-1990s WWF (now WWE) scratch logo, but dozens of others have followed in the same footsteps. It would be fair to say that by pioneering this type of television logo, almost every station on the air owes a design debt to MTV.



The MTV logo is the prototypical television logo. Simple, easy to identify and mutable, it’s responsible for much of the television advertising landscape as it is currently known. Though MTV itself has changed over the years, it’s impossible to overstate the debt to which modern media owes the station. While the logo was only a small part of that, it is nevertheless something from which modern television continues to grow.

Exit mobile version