Pandoras New Logo Is, Like, Totally 80s-Era MTV

Amidst a slew of new product launches, Pandora this week unveiled a revamped logo and branding strategy. And like Netflix, Instagram, and Airbnb before it, Pandora’s new identity skews simple. Gone are the scholarly, serif letters of the music streaming service’s old logomark and app icon. In their place you’ll find an identity system that isbright, clean, and bold.

It’s also a lot more versatile. At first glance,the new app icon looks understated, its formand color reminiscent of the PayPallogo; the updated Pandora “P” has no counter (the open space between the stem and the bowl of the “P”), and sports a subtle blue gradient. But that unassuming graphicserves asthe nucleusof a larger, more flexibleidentity system. You’ll get your first taste of that system this week, when Pandora debuts a swarm of ombr-patterned, polka-dotted, and paint-brushed Ps, across a range of marketing materials. In one new clip, various incarnationsof the Pandora P flash before your eyes,atop imageryof performing musicians.

Pandoras New Logo Is, Like, Totally 80s-Era MTV


If these images strike you as familiar, it’s probably becauseMTV didsomething similarbackin the early ’80s, with its iconic “I Want My MTV!” campaign. Legendary ad man George Lois developed the branding,and envisioned thebig, blocky M in the MTV icon like a frame into which designers could place whatever imagerythey desired. The campaign catapulted MTV to a position of cultural prominence. Soon after its introduction, Lois’s“M,” like the channel itself, becamea vessel not just for music, but fashion, art, and entertainment.

The similarities between Pandora’s campaign andLois’s are no coincidence.We liken it to old-school MTV in that its able to take on the mood of what its reflecting, says Julie Scelzo, Pandoras creative director. The idea is that each “P” can express something different—musically or culturally—while still retaining its connection to the core brand.

The companyhopes that flexibility will help it staycompetitiveas it expands into an industrycrowded with would-be Pandora-killers.The new identity system arrivesjust a few weeks after thelaunch of Pandora Plus (the company’s paid, premium streaming service), and in advance of an as-yet unnamed subscription music service. The latter is designed to go head to headwith the likes ofSpotify, Apple Music, and newcomer Amazon Music Unlimited. If it wants to compete, Pandorawill need to distinguish itself.

One way to do that is with marketing. Another is through product. Pandora’s newidentitysystem seems adaptableenough to handleboth. Scelzo says that’s the plan. Over time, as new services and featuresroll out, those colorful Ps will start to pop up in new places.Its meant to be that portal to new integrated programs and concerts, she says. Youll constantly see new creative inside that P.”

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