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In 1966, seventeen bankers formed a federation for the reciprocal acceptance of their credit cards. They called this federation as Interbank and hence, the first 1966 logo. The ‘i’ was used to identify the participating members of Interbank Card Association.
In 1969, the name was changed to Master Charge. The new logo had the two familiar intersecting circles which make sense when we think about the interbank card business. Also, the ‘i’ was retained at the bottom to show continuity and also to make it easy for people to recognize their earlier familiar logo.
Finally, in 1979, the name MasterCard was adopted and they lost the ‘i’ from the logo. In 1990, bold colors were adopted which also made it easier to recognize the 23 horizontal bars between the two circles, which I think denoted the idea of multiple simultaneous interbank relationships. The logo looks more contemporary and simple, with an italic, sans-serif typeface.
In 1996, a more prominent font replaces the old font, and the number of bars was also reduced, resulting in a simple and powerful logo. The Brand Mark’s visibility, recognition, and overall brand image are improved, with new features including larger lettering highlighted with a drop shadow, fewer interlocking bars within the red and yellow circles, and a new dark blue background for use on decals and signage.