Ah, the 1980s. The ten years was a blur of saturated colours, zany patterns and, certainly, feathered hairdos. And if just one single symbol structure captured this frenetic, rule-breaking resourceful power, it has to be the MTV brand.
The shifting look of Warner-Amex’s (WASEC) new music channel tapped into a appear that stays influential now by working with a easy logo that could, and did, just take on myriad distinct themes. And it can be just becoming rediscovered by a new era (see our guide to how to design a symbol for more inspiration).
MTV began lifestyle again in 1981 and would revolutionise pop lifestyle and entertainment with its back again-to-back again audio films (it was virtually songs television again in the working day) and, possibly even extra notably, its style and design.
As recently observed on Reddit, the MTV symbol could choose on unique themes dependent on the situation necessary, and these were being typically wild Memphis style and design designs that would appear chaotic and garish today.
Whilst some Reddit buyers are acquiring to describe the thought of MTV to young peeps for other individuals, the logo designs carry back a wave of nostalgia for the 80s arcade aesthetic. “I utilized to draw this on my school notebooks when I was 12,” a single human being wrote. But how was the MTV symbol born, and why does it so correctly seize the spirt of its age?
The MTV symbol tapped into the worldwide Memphis design movement. Led by the Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, the Memphis group’s initial display, featuring objects like the Bel Air chair, was held at the Salone del Cellular Milano in 1981, the exact same 12 months that MTV introduced.
The several iterations of the MTV symbol with its hand drawn appear and outrageous designs reflected the graphics coming out of the Memphis motion. It was the work of young studio Manhattan Design and style, which was hired by WASEC vice president of resourceful companies Fred Seibert.
But their initially proposal was very, extremely diverse to the MTV emblem we know. On his website, Seibert shares a 1982 post and interview from the industry magazine Cablevision, in which he reveals that the company sent him a Polaroid of a sketch of a hand keeping a musical notice as if it were being an Apple. He loved it, but makes an attempt to get the job done it into a wordmark ended up disastrous.
Soon after that failure, and with it now determined that a ‘MTV’ desired to be in the layout, the designers began taking part in all over with the letters by itself. The final result was some thing simultaneously uncomplicated but one of a kind and daring. A huge stately M as a 3D projection with Television set scrawled about it.
The simplicity of it meant that the emblem could consider on a lifestyle of its on, with the M subject matter to all types of interventions, from bricks to flags, animal prints and fruit. These numerous outfits have the logo a feeling of motion, even if it was static.
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Some of them could have been hard to go through, but that’s not definitely an concern. It’s MTV, it was the zeitgeist. Individuals soon understood what it was. Seibert suggests the design went towards every thing he understood, but it came to outline an period.
For the style and design tales guiding the identities of extra current media retailers, see our explorations of the YouTube brand record and the TikTok symbol history.