MTV: an identity ahead of its time

August 2, 2011

MTV launched itself on August 1, 1981 and yesterday celebrated its 30th birthday. In honor of their 30th I'd like to remark on the uniqueness of their 30-year brand. MTV's logo has always been a block "M" with "TV" graffitied in the corner. Pretty simple, no? What I find interesting is that from a branding perspective they were really ahead of their time. They created a flexible identity decades before corporations such as Google and AOL, who are doing it now. The tweaks to the structure of the logo have been minor over the years. This article talks about the history of the logo and has video clips of old commercials.

I think it's great that through the thousands of variations of colors and patterns, animations and illustrations during its 30 years of existence, the logo has never lost its intent. All of its iterations have only served to strengthen the youthful vibe that is synonymous with MTV. As someone who grew up watching MTV I always knew it was pushing boundaries and shaping American culture. They brought the music video to the masses and created The Real World when there was no such thing as "reality tv." As a designer, I applaud the flexibility of their identity that has kept them fresh and fun all these years and the knowledge that they were doing this long before anyone else. Happy 30th MTV!

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