MTV

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Original logo design by Manhattan Design (1981)

The MTV logo was designed in 1981 by Manhattan Design, a collective formed by Frank Olinsky,Pat Gorman and Patty Rogoff, under the guidance of MTV’s original creative director, Fred Seibert. They founded Manhattan Design in 1979, opening their first office in a tiny room in the back of a t’ai chi studio in Greenwich Village.

Late in 1980, before the channel had been formally named (it was originally called “The Music Channel” after its sister network, The Movie Channel),MTV creative director Fred Seibert approached the team to design the network’s logo. He had known Olinsky since childhood, and Olinsky had designed record covers for Seibert’s company Oblivion Records in 1975. Manhattan Design created hundreds of preliminary designs, but when the ‘MTV’ name was chosen, partner Gorman sketched out the now familiar “M” in a bold 3-d sans serif, a “new wave” style “TV” was added by Olinsky, and the design was presented to the network. Seibert and partner Alan Goodman wanted the “TV” redesigned, and Olinsky took a large version of the “M” into the studio stairwell, spray painted a graffiti-style “TV” on it, and presented it, paint drips and all, to the network.

After the logo was approved, the partners were asked to come up with the “corporate colors” for the logo. A revolutionary decision was made: there wouldn’t be any corporate colors. The “M” and the “TV” could be made of anything at all. The influence of the MTV logo’s chameleon-like look can be seen today.

Parts Used: Chain

  • Date: May 29, 2014
  • Filed under: Logos