Friday, January 11, 2019

Mastercard's Brand Evolution: A Wordless Logo

In the first significant branding news of the new year, Mastercard has announced that it is removing its name from its logo.

According to a company press release, "Following in the footsteps of branding legends Apple, Nike, and Target, Mastercard is choosing a wordless logo using only its iconic, intersecting yellow and red circles. It will be used as the brand symbol on credit cards and at retailers, as well as at events and on advertising. The new logo was also chosen to “work seamlessly across the digital landscape."

For over 50 years, since its founding as Interbank Card Association in 1966, Mastercard's red and yellow circles have been recognizable for the brand and go hand-in-hand with the tagline, "Priceless."

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard, said that the company undertook more than 20 months of global consumer research to ensure that people could identify the brand solely by its circles. “With more than 80% of people spontaneously recognizing the Mastercard symbol without the word ‘Mastercard,’ we felt ready to take this next step in our brand evolution."

“We live in a time where, increasingly, we communicate not through words but through icons and symbols,
” said Michael Bierut, partner at design consulting firm Pentagram, “Now, by allowing this symbol to shine on its own, Mastercard enters an elite cadre of brands that are represented not by name, but by symbol: an apple, a target, a swoosh.”

Is Mastercard's logo stronger with or without its name? While every brand aspires to possess the strength of Nike's swoosh or Amazon's arrow, not every brand is as strong as its leadership team thinks it is. When you choose to pay for something in the future, will the fact that the word Mastercard is missing from a credit card or store display make an impact? Only time will tell if this was a smart move by Mastercard.

Image Credit: Mastercard.

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