• Transform magazine
  • February 22, 2024


Brand in action: Mastercard

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Playing your cards right

Who: Mastercard

What: It’s iconic. It’s priceless. It’s Mastercard, only it’s no longer just a card. One of the world’s biggest and most well-known payment providers has rebranded to emphasise its changing business. The company worked with Pentagram’s New York outfit to modernise its iconic logo while retaining the iconic red and yellow circle icon, which has been around since 1968. The new brand is simple and optimised for digital use. Its placement on credit cards is due to shift as well.

How: With 2.3m cards in use today and countless applications of the interlocking circles adorning the windows and cashpoints of shops, restaurants and other points of sale around the world, the brand implementation is a big job. The rollout will require Pentagram and other agencies around the world to create the countless advertisements, messaging, photography, digital and print assets for the ubiquitous brand. For Masterpass, the company’s digital payments offer, the rebrand has already come into effect. The new use of orange in the wordmark allows Mastercard the flexibility of use across different background colours and brightens the logo for digital use. On credit cards themselves, white, black and grey plastic lets the bright logo shine from the lower right corner.

Why: The changes to the brand ensure that Mastercard – which does not actually issue credit cards – can expand its digital payments offering. This new brand replaces a 2006 semi-rebrand that distinguished the corporate and consumer brands. Pentagram’s work will now be used across every brand touchpoint. Though the brand still relies on the interlocking circles, the lowercase ‘c’ in Mastercard marks a departure from the focus on credit cards. Digital payments are the way of the future and Mastercard is now prepared for that, in terms of its business and its brand. Mastercard’s chief communications officer, Raja Rajamannar says, “Today, it is all about connected-consumers, and digital is at the heart of enabling practically everything they do in all spheres of their lives.” Pentagram partner Michael Beirut adds, “The interlocking circles have become so recognizable that they can be reduced to their essence and still communicate Mastercard, at scales large and small, analog and digital, and ultimately, even without words.”