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MTV Logo Story ( Happy 30th Birthday MTV )

Growing up in the 80's was interesting time in pop culture. There was an explosion of music, art , fashion. That was color infused to me magical. Seems they were color washing out the last decade. Getting full cable was big news in my neighborhood. I remember the occasion vividly the day the Cable guy was going to install cable. I came home from school to see our television outfitted with new wires. This large beige digital box on the top. Remote on the coffee table placed carefully on the TV guide. Did I say hello to my mother no I said " Mom what channel is MTV" . Little did I know at that moment Id be changed forever. Many of us were changed it was the    exodus from VHF to Cable. We were now wired .

   I noticed that the 80's is a big trend right now. Allot of my friends kids are asking us about the old days. The way Id ask my mom about the 50's. I tell them back in the 80's MTV played music 24 hours a day. You could turn on your television there would be music. The MTV Logo was this bright beacon of cool. Launching many of the careers of many pop icons. The station promos were almost as popular as the videos. Where did the MTV logo come from ?

You would think some big splashy ad agency on Madison Avenue. Think again the logo was the the brain child of 3 struggling graphic designers. They started a company called Manhattan Design the name was conceived by the 3 owners Pat Gorman, Frank Olinsky and Patti Rogoff they wanted the name to sound like they were a well established firm. They were just getting by in an office in Greenwich Village. When Frank Olinsky ran into a child hood friend Fred Seibert who worked for a big corporation Warner Amex . The corporation was starting a 24 hour music station. This was very ground breaking at the time. Even though some of the splashy design firms had been hired. The 3 young designers to were given a shot at designing the logo.  Here is an early version of the logo . Though previous designs included obvious music symbols . I've included an excerpt that better describes the whole process in depth.

Design by Manhattan Design

 "They made some sketches featuring the letters "M", "T", and "V". Some of these sketches included Mickey Mouse-like hands squeezing the notes. At some point an outline drawing of a bold sans serif "M" appeared on a piece of paper. One of the three designers then drew dimensional sides to the "M". After that a variety of groupings of the letters "TV" were added. Everything seemed too normal-looking. Frank suggested that the logo needed to be less corporate somehow, de-faced or graffitied. " by Frank Olinsky to read more

What was born was the logo as we know it today. Sure it has had a couple face lifts with the times. The Logo remains the same as it always was. The brain child of 3 struggling artists that became one of the most iconic music logos. Though my generation will say they loved MTV when it actually played music.Most of us have moved to VH1 in recent years or youtube to get our fixes. So do you have a memory of MTV in the 80's ?  To see the logo in its many phases please check out Fred Seiberts Flickr page. He really has a wonderful evolution of the logo. I will post the links at the bottom of the page. So Ladies and Gentlemen ROCK N ROLL !

Frank Olinsky designed the album cover for Duran Duran's Notorious Album . Check out his website you'll be shocked at how much of Frank's work you have seen or is in your very home.

Fred Seibert  has the best flickr page to see the logo in its many versions

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