Mastercard logo tracing its historical meaning, symbolism and evolution


Last updated July 14, 2023

The Mastercard logo is an exceptional design with two overlapping circles in red and yellow. It effectively communicates a sense of association, friendliness and trust. The logo has undergone subtle changes over the years, leading to its current minimalist design. Dive into the fascinating journey of the Mastercard logo by exploring its historical meaning, symbolism and evolution.

Mastercard is the second largest payment processing company in the world. Since its creation in 1966, the financial giant has managed the finances and payments of individuals. Its logo also evokes the trust people place in its services. The company’s identity lies in the logo consisting of two overlapping red and orange circles. But the logo has also undergone several modifications over the decades.

The Mastercard Corporation offers Mastercard-branded payment cards. The company collaborates with establishments around the world to offer its services to people. Mastercard payment cards conduct all transactional communications exclusively through the Mastercard network. Debit cards, credit cards and prepaid cards are all payment cards.

Gross dollar volume (GDV) fees are the primary source of revenue for Mastercard, a major financial services provider. The Mastercard logo is usually displayed on Mastercard cards. The emblem, which is a closed circle, is often missing from retail store cards. The Mastercard logo is also displayed on open-loop cards to help users determine their eligibility for use.

According to Chuck Breuel, vice president of brand marketing at Mastercard, “We haven’t touched our brand for about 20 years now, and the business has changed dramatically in that time. We’ve expanded all of our products and services, and that’s really accelerated over the last few years.

What does the Mastercard logo mean?

Mastercard is a world-renowned payment network. It is the second largest payment network after Visa. The Mastercard logo features overlapping circles, indicating the connection the company wants to establish with its customers.

The circular shape indicates easy access to the company’s products for people. This also expresses the inclusive nature of the card for everyone.

Two circles combine to form a different colored shape in the middle. It means unification and connection with more people from other continents.

The Mastercard logo is a geometric composition comprising two red and orange circles. They overlap to symbolize unity, connection and cooperation.

Main charge: 1966-1979

The history of the Mastercard logo design began in the 1960s, when the card was known as Master Charge. The logo displayed a slogan titled “The Interbank Charge”, with the “i” of Interbank created in black in the lower right corner.

In 1968, MasterCharge received a new design with the brand name in lowercase and “The Interbank Card” in capitals. At the time, this indicated a modern, forward-thinking banking product.

Additionally, the logo’s color scheme (red and orange) helps convey the meaning of the logo. These two colors evoke passion and progress.

Original Mastercard logo: 1979 – 1990

In 1979, the MasterCharge name was replaced by a new brand Master Card. The name change also led to a change in the logo design. Previously, the brand name was written in lowercase letters.

The new logo bore the initials M and C in capital letters, indicating the brand’s authority and determination to succeed in the niche. It also conveyed simplicity and sophistication.

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The logo makeover: 1990-1996

In 1990, the company changed the Mastercard logo again to make it relevant to the target audience of the time. The new redesign had bright colors, with the orange circle changed to yellow. This measure made the logo accessible and user-friendly.

Another change in the Mastercard emblem the design consisted of the inclusion of horizontal stripes where the two circles overlapped. The yellow and red stripes made the logo recognizable and memorable. Additionally, the wordmark appeared in italic letters to make it look sophisticated and elegant.

Dominant new look: 1996-2016

In 1996, the Master card logo has a new and refreshing look. This time, the colors red and yellow were more vibrant than ever. The wordmark was also less italicized. Additionally, the white letters had a black shadow.

The new logo also featured fewer horizontal stripes. This was the time when minimalism was becoming a new norm in the design world.

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Minimalist design: 2016-2020

In 2016, the company made another change in its logo design. The first significant change occurred by removing the bands in the middle, where the two circles merge. This makes the two red and orange circles look simple.

Another notable change concerns the wordmark. The company name previously appeared on both circles in bold letters. This time, the brand name has moved below the two circles. Additionally, instead of the initials M and C being capitalized, the entire brand name was lowercase in a sans-serif font. This gave the logo a confident look.

This change in the logo was due to the emphasis on minimalism of the logo. The logo has had a facelift.

Logo colors only: 2019-present

The company redesigned its logo in 2019 to make it more minimalist. The company removed its name from the logo entirely. The design looks like two overlapping circles of red and orange. The newest version is not only minimalist but also looks like a work of art.

Mastercard opted for the more minimalist design since it discovered through research that people identified the circles with their brand. The red and yellow circles were instantly recognizable and made the brand stand out in the niche banking sector.

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing officer of Mastercard, said in AdWeek: “The Mastercard logo is universally recognized. There are 2.2 billion cards bearing the Mastercard logo. Millions of merchants around the world display the Mastercard logo at their points of sale. The key for us is the fairness of this logo – we need to leverage it in the future. We needed to retain the most recognizable elements of our brand, namely the interlocking circles, the red and yellow colors and the Mastercard name itself. This is exactly the path we are on.

The new Mastercard brand has allowed the company to build a strong brand identity. It also strengthened its global presence and brand image. The brand has therefore only partially modified the new logo. THE Mastercard card symbol still has its basic identity of two overlapping red and yellow circles. This still conveys the brand’s message of connection, togetherness and unity.

The wordmark is in lowercase because the brand did not want to emphasize the word “card”. In fact, the brand only offers one type of payment and not all other types of digital payment.

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The Mastercard logo today looks like the most minimalist design with just two overlapping red and orange circles. It began its design journey as MasterCharge, with two large overlapping red and brown circles. The design of the Mastercard logo, later, remained as simple as its identity. The ’90s color palette became brighter to reflect the brand’s confidence in its niche. Since then it has remained virtually the same, with the latest design simply consisting of two circles.


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