MasterCard symbol

Mastercard logo evolutionClick for larger

Mastercard symbolPrevious, and a closer look at the 1990 version

Mastercard symbolNew

The updated identity was designed by Michael Bierut and Luke Hayman of Pentagram, incorporating the FF Mark type family.

In the thread on Creative Review Scott Carmichael commented, “Why didn’t they drop the overlapping circles and do something different? Why not change the color palette? Why go lowercase? So clichéd.”

Adam Mitchinson replied, “Probably because it’s a globally recognised symbol and it would make absolutely no sense to change it just to do ‘something different’. Rebranding isn’t about making things different, it’s about making things stronger and more fit for purpose based on sound business thinking.”



Can someone tell me what the other new logo will be used for? This is in regards to the picture that has the timeline of their previous logos.

The Emperors New Logo!

I wish people would stop referring to this as the New logo. It’s a great simplification—it looks pretty much what you’d see if you squinted at the previous iteration, which is great…The type feels like its hiding under the circles and can’t help but feel young and naive in the presence of the iconic symbol above it.

My personal favorite in all of this is the long distance, yet clearly committed, relationship between the ® and ™ .

You raise a good point there Haik. But consideration should be given to the fact that it took 4 board meetings, numerous submissions from the branding agency and added untold millions to the bill, just to nail down that synergy between the ® and ™.
In my view the best change is ditching the drop shadow on the dated typeface, all lowercase adds a contemporary feel and the simplification was way overdue.

That one’s no longer in use, Ben. Since 2006, Mastercard had two logos, with the “three circle” version brought in alongside a name change to MasterCard Worldwide.

A small tweak of the 1979 version (minor adjustments to modernise colours and typeface) would have been so much better.

I agree with Frank… removing the typo out of the circles makes the circles look too simple and makes the logo a bit weaker from my point of view… the new typo within the circles would have been much more efficient if you ask me.
Just 2 circles overlapping says little in this context… and graphically it has been used several times on different places, media… e.g. “James Bond Thunderball Danish movie poster”. Art by Robert McGinnis. (almost literally the same)

I mean losing the type makes sense if you think about where this logo really needs to perform. It’s probably most commonly seen these days as a tiny icon on a checkout page, or on the window of a restaurant in a small decal form…

The brand can get away with just two circles with those colors — no one’s going to mistake this for something else because the type is gone.

The question is whether MasterCard will get more customers, respect or create more value for stakeholders.

If the answer is ‘no’ to the above, then every penny spent on a brand refresh is wasted.

Nice, non-disruptive simplification of the logo. But to me, using circles more flexibly in the broader visual system (circles of different sizes, non-overlapping circles, outlined circles) is obvious and genericizes the overall branding. The overlapping red and yellow circles are distinctive; circles in general are not.

1979 is the golden one out of all of them. The typeface on the new one is not bold enough to stand next to the iconic symbol.

@DJ I think you’re oversimplifying this—there are other reasons to rebrand an entity. What about playing catch up? Printing methods change, technology changes, the need for new types of applications arises, etc.

The value created isn’t always so obvious, and sometimes it’s about pulling a brand into the current context.

Generally I’m all in on simplification, but here there is the danger of trodding the thin ice that USA Today (a blue disk) has already plunged through: so generic that it loses individuality. A Venn diagram is often used with two colors; red and yellow are most common for the purpose. It is difficult to overcome that kind of universal common usage. It will rely on a very smart, comprehensive standards manual and a nazi-esque brand manager. They probably have both.

Having studied brand identity, having been peripherally involved with the mid 90s change to 9 bar drop shadow, having had lunch with David Aaker, I say without hesitation that this violates EVERY rule of logo design change. They have taken an iconic logo, and ruined it: there is NOTHING better about this new version. Different, yes – but worse. Much worse.

I am 31, I love this. It looks modern and clean and I find it brave and bold to have such trust in the logo to work without the typeface (and it certainly does). Most companies of this size would be too scared to do this, I believe. For me as a target group this works very well.

My grandfather, Earl N. Picker, of Earl Picker Art Studio in St. Louis, MO., was the commercial artist responsible for designing the original Master Charge logo. He was hired by James (Jim) Rollins Hoag from CSI (Computer Authorization System) in Richmond Heights, MO, in order to create an original logo for Master Charge, the Interbank Card. Earl Picker was the person who created the intersecting circles that we recognize around the world today. Before creating the Master Charge logo and many other logos, Earl Picker served in WWII and fought in the early part of Battle of the Bulge and was eventually stationed in Versailles, France, where he worked for the Americans and Col. President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a cartographer drawing maps for the war. President Eisenhower called him “Pic”. I’ve attempted in the past to contact MasterCard and have yet to receive a response. It would be nice to have him finally credited for his art.

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