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What’s in a Name? New Mastercard Logo Embraces Icon Era

Who knew 2019 would be known as “The Year #Priceless Went Nameless”?

Consumers have been conditioned to recognize corporate icons like McDonald’s “Golden Arches” and Nike’s “Swoosh.” Now, with its decision to remove its name from its red and yellow brand mark, Mastercard is the latest major global brand to let a wordless logo do all the talking.

“Reinvention in the digital age calls for modern simplicity,” said Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar in a press release explaining the change. “And with more than 80% of people spontaneously recognizing the Mastercard Symbol without the word ‘mastercard,’ we felt ready to take this step in our brand evolution. We are proud of our rich brand heritage and are excited to see the iconic circles standing on their own.”

The new logo – a pair of interlocking red and yellow circles – will be referred to as the Mastercard Symbol, and will be featured across cards, acceptance marks at online and off-line retail locations, as well as at major sponsorship properties.

The move is the second logo change for the company in recent years. The firm transitioned from “MasterCard” to “mastercard” in 2016, and added design changes that made the logo easier to display both horizontally and vertically. This latest logo redesign was developed by the same firm, Pentagram, that the company turned to in 2016.

“We live in a time where, increasingly, we communicate not through words but through icons and symbols,” Pentagram partner Michael Bierut said. “Now, by allowing (the Mastercard) 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.”

Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Purchase, New York, Mastercard most recently demonstrated its technology on the Finovate stage last year at FinovateEurope 2018. At the conference, the company partnered with Italian fintech Vipera to introduce a mobile payment solution, SME-Pay, geared toward small business owners.

The year before, at FinovateFall 2017, Mastercard demonstrated its Mastercard Cash Pick-Up solution. This technology enables disbursers ranging from P2P providers to NGOs and government agencies to deliver cash to consumers via enabled ATMs without the use of a card.

Mastercard trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “MA” and has a market capitalization of $198 billion. The company connects consumers, FIs, businesses, and governments in more than 210 countries and territories, and reported revenue of more than $12 billion in 2017.