Music Television Logo
View and download MTV vector logo in SVG file format.
MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable channel, launched on August 1, 1981. Based in New York City, it serves as the flagship property of the ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks division of ViacomCBS, also headquartered in New York City.
MTV originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as “video jockeys” (VJs), but in the years since its inception, the network significantly toned down its focus on music in favor of original reality programming targeting teenagers and young adults.
MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the U.S. and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent, with approximately 90.6 million American households in the United States receiving the channel as of January 2016.
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. The ‘M’ was sketched by Rogoff, with the ‘TV’ spray painted by Olinksky.
Throughout MTV’s early days, the channel’s main logo was a large yellow “M” with red letters “TV,” but unlike most networks’ logos, the MTV logo constantly morphed and adapted with different colors, patterns and images filling in the large block letter. The very first moments of MTV featured an adaptation of the first landing on the moon, directly from NASA still images (a concept of Seibert’s, executed by Buzz Potamkin and Perpetual Motion Pictures). After the “moon landing,” as well as the top of every hour until at least the mid-1980s (which ran “more than 15,000” times each year, according to Seibert), featured a rapidly changing network ID logo that changed its appearance several times per second. The only constant aspects of MTV’s logo at the time were its general shape and proportions; everything else was dynamic.
The channel’s “I want my MTV!” image and branding campaign was launched in 1982. The media strategy and creative executions were developed by George Lois, based on a cereal commercial from the 1950s, “I want my Maypo!” that George created. Over the years the campaign featured known artists and celebrities including Pete Townshend, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, David Bowie, The Police, Kiss, Culture Club, Billy Idol, Hall & Oates, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Lionel Richie, Ric Ocasek, John Mellencamp, Peter Wolf, Joe Elliot, Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield and Mick Jagger interacting with the MTV logo on-air, encouraging viewers to call their cable or satellite providers and request that MTV be added to their local channel lineups. Eventually, the slogan became so ubiquitous it became incorporated as a sung (by Sting) lyric in the Mark Knopfler penned Dire Straits’ record “Money for Nothing.”