CR Blog

MTV's brand new look

Graphic Design, Music Video / Film

Posted by Gavin Lucas, 1 July 2009, 12:40    Permalink    Comments (67)


MTV launches a spanky new look as of today – as its international brand refresh rolls out across the company's network of 64 channels, created by MTV's creative directors from around the world in collaboration with UK-based studio Universal Everything...

We use the word refresh rather than rebrand as the MTV logo is still recognisable - the new logo (above) is, in fact, the old logo - but in MTV's new look, the logo remains black on a white ground - no colour, pattern or texture will ever adorn it - which is a change from MTV of old where the idents were based on the logo being played around with.

"Now the logo is sacred," says Roberto Bagatti, Vice President of Creative for MTV Networks International and Creative Director of MTV's World Design Studio in Milan, who oversaw the project.

So if the logo's the same, what's new? MTV Networks International now has a new flexible typographic navigation system for displaying onscreen information. The MTV logo remains in a fixed top left position onscreen at all times and acts as an anchor for the new system of information display - with the title of the current programme always appearing immediately to the right of the logo in a blue progress-bar so viewers can guage where they are in the current programme. To the right of this info is where viewers will occasionally see information in yellow text boxes: yellow denotes what's coming up next on the channel. And to the right of this, appears what's coming up later - always in a pink info box. The typeface used for this primary information is Pharma Bold Condensed by Swiss type foundry Optimo.

As well as the main programme info, more playful messages will appear in the lower third of the screen - and for this text, there is a collection of secondary brand typefaces to choose from, depending on the mood of the message. The eight secondary typefaces were selected for their expressive or emotion-inducing nature - and to add an element of fun to the onscreen identity of the channel.

The faces, shown above, are American Typewriter Light Italic, Balloon Bold, Bigcity Maxi, Cozzap Open, Flash ND, Futura SB Bold Italic, Sahara Bodoni and Signpainter House Brush. Here's an example of how these will be used onscreen:

The first six new channel idents make it clear beyond doubt that MTV is sporting a slick new look - based on an idea of "pop x 1000%" which was, says Bagatti, "the rebrand project's title and mantra."

Regular CR blog readers may recall us writing about Universal Everything's Advanced Beauty project in which UE's Matt Pyke collaborated with his sound designer brother, Simon (Freeform), as well as a host of hand-picked film makers to create motion graphics pieces or "sound sculptures". Well, the new MTV idents look and feel like an extension of this project - perhaps unsurprisingly as they've been created similarly – with Matt Pyke commissioning films from filmmakers he admires with his brother Simon working on the soundtrack for each ident. However, each of the MTV idents has exactly the same 2/2 time signature – a heartbeat-like rhythm to which the MTV logo always pulsates. Here are all six of the new idents so you can see how they look:

MTV International / Mad Drummer from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

MTV International / Sweetheart from Universal Everything on Vimeo.
Directed by Zeitguised. Creative direction: Universal Everything

MTV International / Mister Furry from Universal Everything on Vimeo.
Co-directed by Universal Everything and Realise Studio

MTV International / Chocolate Gold Sunset from Universal Everything on Vimeo.
Directed by Universal Everything / Tronic

MTV International / Windkiss from Universal Everything on Vimeo.`
Directed by Universal Everything

MTV International / Jewels and Oil from Universal Everything on Vimeo.
Co-directed by Universal Everything and Zhestkov

“We are huge fans of Universal Everything, says Bagatti of MTV's choice of agency. They apply a fresh direction to each new project that goes beyond momentary trends in graphic design and they approach a brief with a different kind of attitude and a wide range of references spread across multiple disciplines – everything from architecture and contemporary art, to molecular cuisine and biology. We were also drawn towards the non-traditional broadcast side that Universal Everything applies. We knew that their interpretation of pop culture would fit with ours and visually, the rebrand would be spectacular without treading on clichés.”







This idents are beautiful. Whatever I feel about MTVs content, they are always pushing forward with innovative design and film. Really impressive.

But I fucking hate The Hills. There. I've said it.
2009-07-01 14:15:04

Well, nice shot, especialy the on-air design seems to be a nice refreshment.
But the animations look like a cross-section of Maxon's Cinema4D PlugIns... I really hope they'll find a more creative way to use those.
2009-07-01 14:17:27

Hmm.....not a fan. Idents are meaningless rubbish and aren't even that visually appealing, and the 'sacred' black and white logo looks lazy.
2009-07-01 15:31:30

Al McCarley
2009-07-01 15:58:41

MTV International / Sweetheart from Universal Everything. is just beautiful.

This stuff all looks fab, The MTV content serves an auidence satified with the content. i don't watch the Hills but know people who love it.

Anyone know where i can get MTV stats on what people watch on their channels?

Help is rewarded with nice emails of thanks and a happy face.

2009-07-01 16:20:36

really outstanding!
2009-07-01 16:28:27

From a graphical point of view I really like UE's input and its refreshing to see on screen but as a brand?

MTV stopped being relevant and subscribed by myself when it stopped playing music!

They should drop the 'Music Television' tag as its far from a music channel, more of a dumping ground for American teen crap aimed at 14 year olds.
John Instruct
2009-07-01 16:30:17

Couldn't agree more Ben - that white background looks like it's only there because they don't know how to get rid of it.
Anyway, the logo's obviously not that sacred - CR have still managed to obscure it with their titling. Good job I'm not the MTV brand manager!!
2009-07-01 16:38:46

Sweetheart is stunning...
2009-07-01 16:54:41

Very poor
2009-07-01 17:05:36

looks like someone got the MTV logo off google and accidentally named it MTV_ONSCREEN_LOGO_FINAL.jpg
Simon Whybray
2009-07-01 17:14:06

It's really a big loss the fact this branding will apply for all the 62 channels MTV has worldwide - the most interesting and inspiring aspect they ever had on the visual culture side was the diversity coming from the different design at the different countries thay are present. Thats a shame.

And the idents look fine, but let's face, they are not beyond the contemporary design trend - and I wouldn't expect much inovation anymore from MTV, specially with a "motto/mantra" such as pop x 1000%.
Tom Lancz
2009-07-01 17:36:15

looks ok will mtv base / hits / dance / two and R get a new look
Richard Fox
2009-07-01 17:54:45

Great promo for UE and the individual creative teams producing the sequences - but not quite sure where the brand identity is... looks like an attempt to piggyback UE's roster and delicately position the "sacred logo" (cough).

I'll withhold judgement - maybe this rolls out with the interstitials. Would be good to have seen how 'the hills' link works - pales in significance against the other pieces.

Mr Furry's pet made me laugh.
Mr Dee
2009-07-01 17:59:11

WOW! this is fantastic stuff, so innovative and cool and the idents are gorgeous. i love it.

it always makes me laugh how people say there's no music on MTV anymore - i have MTV2 playing back-to-back music all day long!

congrats mtv and universal everything xx
Todd Kelly
2009-07-01 18:18:15

Todd Kelly is a [COMMENT DELETED BY MODERATOR], the flagship channel "MTV" is all reality crap. Yeah MTV2 plays music but is really just an afterthought, programming, design, etc.... It's MTV that makes money from crap like "The Hills" and drivel like it. They should call MTV2 MTV and find another name for what currently is MTV, which used to stand for Music Television.
Jo Mama
2009-07-01 19:12:00

Wow. I heart UE. Too bad we have to have to put their logos on our art.
Chad Rea
2009-07-01 19:33:36

I love 'em.
Very now motion design - whether it's to your taste or not.
2009-07-01 20:22:50

Personally I liked Mad Drummer. So cool. Great use of geometric silhouettes. Nice and simple animation. But to be perfectly honest - the rest of them felt like kitsch to me.
2009-07-01 22:25:25

Like any other aging brand trying to be relevant again-- groovy graphics cant hide the fact your product is pure garbage.
Craig Stout
2009-07-02 01:28:17

This Design is great.
I have read the news on a message board about nick.
i'm from german. the design before this was really bad.
thanks. :-D Now i'm happy.
2009-07-02 03:03:39

Great simplicity, very effective on-screen and visually beautiful. Excellent choice of typography for the onscreen info graphics!
Paulo Garcia / Lodma™
2009-07-02 11:40:31

I think it looks great in all parts. I agree with Paulo, great simplicity.
2009-07-02 12:45:53

I can't help but get caught up in reading the comments after this article. People get so worked up about what MTV is catering to these days. One poster mentioned MTV now 'a dumping ground for American teen crap aimed at 14 year olds'. And that's exactly why this 'refreshed' look works! That is exactly what they're aiming for. So looking at it constructively, they did a good job gearing their new designs toward their primary audience. MTV is not trying to appeal to their original viewers. They're trying to appeal to the kids that are the same age we were when we first starting watching MTV.
2009-07-02 13:03:30

I think it looks great in all parts. I agree with Paulo, great simplicity.
2009-07-02 13:30:31

fanastic designs, i definately agree that most often less is more. I also think that the original MTV logo has become so iconic, having a less overt main logo is a great stylistic idea.
Firebubble Design
2009-07-02 14:23:57

I agree about the logo being lazy with the white background - until I saw it move. Just makes it work.

I like the hair guys and the super simple cartoon idents, but there sees to be no line in there whatsoever.
2009-07-02 18:11:28

Eye candy. Wouldn't call this a rebrand - just some new graphics. Pretty true to form for Matt Pyke, nothing particularly groundbreaking or different.

Interesting to hear that a whole bunch of Euro Creative Directors were supposedly involved - did they have a big meeting and decide together 'Let's just get that guy to do it for us' - well done chaps, pat on the back...
2009-07-03 07:04:02

Go Zeitguised! The Sweetheart Ident is by far the best one of the lot! why are the directors not credited here???
Chris C
2009-07-03 11:05:48

@Chris C
The directors are credited - next to each video
CR PatrickBurgoyne
2009-07-03 11:10:33

very very bored!
2009-07-03 11:49:26

The new style is pretty lame and certainly not refreshing.
these gradients are cheap, easy and totally 'already done'
The Idents (they bought) are pretty cool, but are second-hands.... (nice mixture of plugins ;) )

"The eight secondary typefaces were selected for their expressive or emotion-inducing nature - and to add an element of fun to the onscreen"
an element of fun.... Yeah right! looks like cheap freefonts

Basically I'm just fed up with MTV
I quote :
"They should drop the 'Music Television' tag as its far from a music channel, more of a dumping ground for American teen crap aimed at 14 year olds."
2009-07-03 12:53:19

I'm quite surprised that people that spend their time on CR actually can't tell the difference between a free font and a Futura, a Comicraft font or a House Industries one. You need to get back to your books or simply change hobby (because I assume you're amateurs, right?).
2009-07-03 16:32:17

I'm quite surprised that people that spend their time on CR actually can't tell the difference between a free font and a Futura, a Comicraft font or a House Industries one. You need to get back to your books or simply change hobby (because I assume you're amateurs, right?).
2009-07-03 16:35:27

looks like a rip off of Current TV's identity
2009-07-03 17:00:35

I really like the photos of the sweets that they plan to use but do not like the playful message typefaces. I suppose it is just a question of personal taste.
2009-07-03 17:51:46

@ Will

"Personally I liked Mad Drummer. So cool. Great use of geometric silhouettes. Nice and simple animation. But to be perfectly honest - the rest of them felt like kitsch to me."

Spot on there mate.
Matthew Ingram
2009-07-03 23:18:49

I love this! You guys are crazy!
2009-07-04 21:36:48

This is just plain amazing. I really love what they did with a brand that underwent multiple variations in texture, color and feel. Great thing. Now if they only played as much music as they did. But that's not to be discussed here. Love the looks and feel of the new/old identity.
2009-07-06 14:57:00

Check the MTV Brasil Rebrand... I think the logo received a great refine that could be used for other MTVs.

You can check also the history of MTV Brasil visual identity.

2009-07-06 16:51:07

I love it. MTV is smart for sticking with what works - their classic logo mixed with their ability to constantly re invent themselves. MTV has an excellent short name and memorable brand and the reason they have stayed that way for so long is because of their subtle rebrands like this over the years.
2009-07-06 19:09:19

Great but totally agree about how bad the black on white square background logo looks, It looks really amateurish. It seems to be all I can focus on and its bothering me. Love the rest though think it's really creative.
Also I used to like the old playing around with the mtv logo an graphic motions looked.
Katie Teevan
2009-07-06 21:02:26

We have all witnessed the experiments of MTV, thanks to his crazy ideas I have been inspired by the nights! Mtv more music and less reality shows! Insurance will have to see what the future has us ready! see u!
alan contreras
2009-07-07 13:57:42

maravilla .... el peludito es el pedo
2009-07-07 16:09:53

I love the back to the old holy logo treatment. The texture, do it yourself amateurism logo fest was boring to begin with. And the idents are awesome.
2009-07-07 16:17:38

Honestly I think this re-brand is a "clusterfuck extraordinaire". The only thing positive is that the logo now has a fixed place and serves as an information header. Mtv used to be a place were they would push visual boundaries and create something unique every time. (remember the Mtv shorts, the Norwegian brothers, the Japanese action figures from hell, the zebra logo, the gradient we love music theme) These idents look like your average reality show intro put together in a night.
The fonts look squeamish, childish and have nothing to do with modern day pop culture. So yeah if they were going for the ohh-let's-appeal-to-the-general-dumb-we-don't-know-what-culture-is-so-we-just-scream-crowd, well mission accomplished. Shame on you Mtv, you used to be eccentric.

2009-07-11 15:26:24

why isn't the rest of the mtv channels rebranded it looks so stupid that mtv base hits dance and two have the same logo i would like mtv to give the other channels there own logo COME ON MTV!!!!!
2009-07-12 22:33:05

zeitguised did a great piece, the others looks like tutorial videos designed by software engineers.
2009-07-13 16:49:07

Considering the amount of talented designers involved in this project, I'm surprised at how weak the execution is (with the exception of Zeitguised's delightful rendering).
UE as a studio seems to have lost its creative energy - it's relying too heavily on cheap ideas mixed with flashy 3D graphics.
Below mediocre.
2009-07-15 07:37:58

I really like the ident as they've stayed with what works - but I can see why some people would regard it as a cop-out. For me it works and shouldn't be tampered with too much, as pushing boundries should be used more in the campaigns to support the brand.

The campaigns are a bit 'all style and no substance' nicely executed but lacking anything that really pushes the boat out.

mark cook
2009-07-15 11:39:19

As a huge fan of mtv europe over the years, aswell as loving the good music it used to play, i was a fan of its on screen ads and graphics. They had a brilliant way of programming. not gone on the new look. the 90's and early years of 2000 were the best . Mtv seriously needs to look on youtube and see what mtv europe was all about . Instead of creating more stupid channels and wasting money they should go back to the original and best that was mtv europe and bring it back.
john reilly
2009-07-15 13:11:47

Reading this post makes me cringe at the know it all, snobby, superior attitude some graphic designers have.
Relax a little bit. Some of the designs are really good and maybe some things like the fonts are not so great in my opinion but I get others seem to like it so...

"...because I assume you're amateurs, right?" - what a dick who cares everyone should get to have a valued opinion without being made feel stupid
Denko Reilly
2009-07-20 11:55:58

the US didn't take the rebrand! the 62 channels are the rest of the world minus the US.
2009-07-21 03:02:06

Progress bar is a ripoff, already used on Nolife channel in France ( )
Da Scritch
2009-07-25 00:19:07

these spots are kind of misleading because the production quality is so excellent whereas the production quality of MTV programs is god awful. the design feels kind of empty and soul-less like the network itself. the poor MTV logo was once alive and fully expressed. Designers had a lot of fun with it and it made for super cool t-shirts. Now, appropriately, it's petrified and disintegrating.
2009-07-25 15:45:39

Can we call it identity?!?
At least I don't see any common point between all this animation except of the MTV logo!
It's a mess of crazy effect, without no concept! like so many other TV channel!
2009-08-05 09:50:37

these all look like some animators had been working on lil anims in there spare time and thought they might as well render them off and stick the Mtv logo on in after effects at the end, very poor for such a large company like Mtv. Is it really that easy to please the entire Mtv international creative teams???
2009-08-10 12:38:19

How long do we have to put up with these horrible graphics on mtv. They usually change them every year the sooner these go the better. The best graphics on mtv europe were through the nintees and early 00's. I miss the mad mtv idents mutating and all the other crazy things that were showin on mtv aswell as the propper logo back on the top right of the screen. I hate looking at mtv with those graphics and those stupid intros and outros. Really it's any graphics designers dream to mess with the mtv logo and so on so what happened here.
2009-08-31 12:32:12

Gramps, you were once a wonderful thing--I can't thank you enough for LiqTV, B&B-H, YoMTVRaps, etc.

But now? Tired. A little desperate. It makes me sad to see you like this.

Viacom sucks. Kids today know this.
Zonkers Terwilliger
2009-09-11 02:31:25

I don't get it. The idents are horrible. Various animations with no meaning and no message with the old school MTV logo stuck on top. With that said, if anyone can make unoriginal an original then it's MTV. - desperately
2009-10-13 21:14:56

Takes me back to a time when I actually liked MTV for their oddness. Any one remember Liquid TV?
2010-01-17 04:30:01

I LOVE Mr. Furry! i could watch him all day! MTV blows now though. Yay! Mr Furry! and baby furry
2010-02-11 12:10:57

These indents all have autodesk Maya written all over them. personally i would say that they are innovative and extremly creative, dont always agree with the sound though... i see a but of autodesk flame in there as well with the textures and stuff. Amazing use of the hair and liquid generator in maya. gr8 gob to universal everything,ect love it!
2010-07-05 06:47:46

Looks bit like channel 4, the text with background colour
2010-10-15 17:05:30

i see a but of autodesk flame in there as well with the textures and stuff. Amazing use of the hair and liquid generator in maya. gr8 gob to universal everything,ect love it!
yohimbine hcl
2011-05-23 20:43:25

I Say bring back the animated indents! They were interesting cool and I have seen loads of people wearing the cool indents on their t'shirts. And another thing this new indent look is really NOT "sacred" it just looks plain and boring and they have now cut off the Music Television part!! I mean what's the point of the program being even called MTV anyways!?!?
2012-09-03 02:51:16

Unfortunately, no amount of beautifying the brand identity itself can cover up the quality of the programming which has been in decline for several years.
Mathew at MB Web Design
2013-01-18 23:18:45

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