How Mastercard Reached a Priceless Decision to Go Wordless

When you’re a well-known brand it seems just a glance at your logo and nearly everyone knows who you are. Some companies are so well known, they can dispense with words.

You don’t need the word “Nike” plastered on your workout togs. All that’s required to know who created your gym gear is that upward swoosh. A white apple with a bite taken from its right side revals who built your laptop. Ditto your coffee, where a green-and-white mermaid with a star-topped crown on her head makes it obvious where you buy your drink.

Early last month at CES, a financial services brand that describes itself as “a technology company in the global payments business,” joined the league of wordless logos. The interlocking yellow and red circles took to a stage in Vegas as soloists and were immediately recognizable. At that moment the word “Mastercard,” which, for the record, not long ago was “MasterCard,” became obsolete.
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Like everything a 53-year-old, “priceless” brand does, a logo change is best approached with care and consideration. It’s the same for communicating about it, Christine Elliott, Mastercard’s EVP of global communications, tells us in an interview. “We’re being pretty strategic about it,” she says.


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