• Transform magazine
  • January 18, 2020

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Playing your cards right

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One of the world’s most recognisable providers of financial services, Mastercard, has undergone a modern makeover in order to equip it for the digital age.

The rebrand was orchestrated by London-based design consultancy group Pentagram. The agency has ensured the new logo is now more appropriate for association with modern services such as mobile banking and contactless payments, a departure from the image of the old and arguably more corporate logo. 

Formed as Master Charge in 1966, and renamed MasterCard in 1979, this distinguishable brand has been subject to little change. The distinctive, italic logo on the famous overlapping red and yellow circles appears on over 2.5bn credit cards worldwide. 

Until now, the consumer logo had been completely unchanged since 1996. Yet when the last 20 years of change within the financial industry is taken into account, a rebrand was perhaps inevitable. 

The central purpose of the logo is to retain Mastercard’s core identity and keep it as familiar as possible with existing customers and stakeholders. Yet, it has updated its image to be as compatible with the age of digital banking as possible. 

Mastercard’s rebrand is the latest in a series of decisions designed to update the brand identity. In September 2014, Mastercard teamed up with Apple Pay in order to deliver its first digital payment system. Now, it has announced its own digital payment system, MasterPass. 

The company’s desire to modernise is clear. In a press release, Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard, comments, “To thrive in this new digital world where business moves faster than ever, we want to modernize and elevate the brand in a design that is simple and elegant, yet unquestionably Mastercard.” 

He continues, “We’ve been on a fantastic trajectory, with digital technology being an increasingly important part of our business. Now it’s time for our brand to embody the company we’ve become.”

The new Mastercard logo is designed to be instantly recognisable, whether on a credit card, an iPhone, or a tablet. At its core, it reflects the multi-faceted nature of the financial services industry at present.

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Evolution of Mastercard branding, 1966 - present.