Mastercard’s logo of two intersecting circles will no longer include the name of the company, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
The company is going the way of Nike, Apple, Shell and Target by eschewing the use of type in its logo, instead relying on its iconic image to remind users of the company.
The text-free logo decision comes in the wake of the company trying to avoid the word “card,” as cashless technologies continue to spread and become more common. The company did not reach the decision lightly; it conducted almost two years of global research to ensure that people would be able to identify the logo without the accompanying text.
Raja Rajamannar, the company’s chief marketing and communications officer, said it was important to make sure Mastercard was recognizable enough on its own before they made the move. “You can never be arrogant and say ‘I’m iconic, and let me go ahead and drop my brand name,’” he said.
Not just any company can lose the name in a logo, according to Debbie Millman, chair of the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts. “The only brands that are able to do this have developed a logo with global recognition over decades,” she said. “It takes time, consistency and a good logo to begin with to be able to do this effectively.”
Michael Bierut, a partner at the design consulting firm Pentagram, which led the development of Mastercard’s new look, said having just an abstract symbol to represent a company is something a marketer wants. “People really want that Nike swoosh or [Apple's] apple,” he said. “The trick is you can’t fast-forward that process, really.”
Another reason for the change: Mastercard wants the new logo to stand out on digital devices, and is highly aware of the visual real estate needed to spell out the name of the company.
“You’re trying to optimize for a very small piece of real estate on a very small piece of glass,” Bierut said. “It might not even be a mobile phone; it might even be a watch face. Having to work a 10-letter name into that is kind of a monster.”