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Sight on Sound

1977–1981

Before MTV's official launch in 1981, Warner Cable (under its two-way interactive cable television system QUBE) launched a specialized channel called Sight on Sound in 1977, which would later evolve into MTV. A similar experiment was done on QUBE's channel C-3, which would later become MTV's sister network Nickelodeon in 1979.

MTV: The Music Channel

1980–1981 (pre-launch)

The Music Channel 1980 Logo.svg
DESIGNER TYPOGRAPHY USAGE LAUNCHED
Manhattan Design Eras Bold Official May 5, 1980

Before its official launch, MTV was originally known as MTV: The Music Channel. Its initial logo was created by Manhattan Design and finalized on May 5, 1980, but was later scrapped due to the designers' efforts to incorporate the MTV name into the logo being an "unqualified disaster" according to creative director Fred Seibert.

MTV

1981–present

MTV 1981.svg
DESIGNER TYPOGRAPHY USAGE LAUNCHED ENDED
Manhattan Design (Patty Rogoff and Frank Olinsky) Helvetica Black (modified)

Kabel Black (August 1, 1981-September 7, 1985, June 11, 1988-May 30, 1994)

Official August 1, 1981 May 30, 1994

MTV was officially launched on August 1, 1981, with a logo designed by Manhattan Design co-founders Patty Rogoff and Frank Olinsky under the direction of creative director Fred Seibert (who would go on to oversee the rebrands of Nickelodeon, Lifetime, VH1, and The Movie Channel). The block letter "M" was sketched by Rogoff, and the scribbled word "TV" was spraypainted by Olinksky. Unlike most television networks at that time, MTV's logo was constantly branded with different colors, patterns and images on a variety of station IDs. Unfortunately, MTV stopped using the Kabel Black font on September 7th, 1985. Strangely, they bring the font back on June 11th, 1988 but then ended again on May 30th, 1994.

Despite the logo changed in May 31st, 1994, the old logo is still active till this day.

1994–present

MTV Logo.svg
DESIGNER TYPOGRAPHY USAGE LAUNCHED ENDED
Pat Gorman Helvetica Black (May 31, 1994-February 8, 2010)

ITC Lubalin Graph (August 15, 1994-April 9, 1995)

Aurora Condensed (October 17, 1997-June 23, 1998)

Official May 31, 1994 February 8, 2010 (U.S.)

July 1, 2011 (rest of the world)

In May 1994, the main design has been cleaned and tightened up slightly, and the "MUSIC TELEVISION" text is now set in Helvetica Black, even though the old logo is still active. For The Brothers Grunt, MTV used the Lubalin font. For MTV's Cartoon Sushi, MTV used the Aurora font. Suprisingly, MTV still used this logo for the rest of the world until July 1st, 2011.

Despite the logo’s final appearance on February 8, 2010 in the United States, and July 1st, 2011 in the rest of the world, the old logo is still active till this day and can only be found in the official MTV merchandise.

2010–present

MTV Logo 2010.svg
DESIGNER TYPOGRAPHY USAGE LAUNCHED
Dan Cassaro, Crobin and Isabelle Rancier Helvetica Neue Black (February 8, 2010-November 10, 2013)

Futura (September 16, 2013-July 23, 2020)

Garage Bold (since 2019)

Official February 8, 2010 (U.S.)

July 1, 2011 (rest of the world)

Since 2008 on the premiere of FNMTV, the network had shown a chopped down version of its logo during most of its on-air programming. This became MTV's main logo on February 8, 2010, when it made its official debut on its website. This logo is essentially a cropped version of the 1997 variant, with the "MUSIC TELEVISION" text eliminated, most likely to reflect the network's dramatic decrease in music-related programming (although it started to shift its focus back in 2016). MTV still used the Helvetica Neue Black font until November 10th, 2013. MTV Europe and Asia started using the Futura font on November 17th, 2013 while MTV in the rest of the world started using it on November 24th, 2013. MTV still used the Futura font until July 23rd, 2020. MTV Europe and Asia started using the Garage Bold font on October 12th, 2020 while MTV in the rest of the world started using it on December 5th, 2020.

On February 5, 2021, MTV began using a revised logo in tandem with the 2010 version, tweaking the overall design for improved readability in small-scale usage. The main logo for MTV features the classic blue, red and yellow color palette (commonly used against a black background), while a single-color version is used for specific piece of content, which does away with the 3D effect (much akin to the current VMA variant).

This logo is being used on most on-air promos for its current programming, as well as the Paramount+ streaming service and the Entertainment Group and Entertainment Studios divisions. It started being used more prevalently and internationally following MTV's 40th anniversary, and became the primary logo online on September 9, 2021. The logo began being used on air on September 12, 2021, during the Video Music Awards.

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