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Find out how the MMVAs got its design and logo

Posted on June 14th, 2013


The MMVAs logo is a very important part of the show. It sets the tone, theme and overall look of everything. And that wouldn’t be possible without a great designing team!

We sat down with Senior Graphic Designer, Gary Samson, and graphic designer Rafael Ruiz about this year’s bright, neon sign and how it all came together (bonus: we’ve got pics of rejected logo designs for all you typography nerds out there!)

What is your job?

Gary: I’m the senior designer at MUCH/MTV Creative, so that means taking care of all the show packaging, print media, anything that has to do with design for the channel. Branding, advertisement, all that stuff.

Rafael: I’m a graphic designer, heavily focused on motion design. So we do the motion design for the MMVAs and other TV shows. We brand the shows and come up with logo designs.

Where did you start with this year’s MMVAs?

Gary: With me, what I wanted to do was do something more visual than any type of storyline or concept. We always want things to be strong visually, but I think this year, I wanted it to be pure visuals even if it was just typography alone. It also coincided with the re-branding of MUCH. The idea was to originally freshen up MUCH, the channel, but I kind of took that concept and pitched it to the MMVAs as well so the two just worked out together.


What influences your ideas?

Gary: Everything I see is kind of an influence. All the designers that put their hands on it also put their influences in it. There are certain things I see online, but I can’t really say a specific thing or artist.

Rafael: Three ideas were pitched for the MMVAs and Gary’s idea was chosen. At that point, they came to me for the logo and so we developed the MMVA logo based on the idea of these neon lights.

Gary: Right, which takes us to the idea – neon! It’s pretty broad, but not neon as in the colour, but neon lights and signage. We’re trying to not do it in an ordinary way, we wanted it on a bigger scale.

Is it easier to work with a vague idea?

Gary: I find it easier. It can be hard to go in a vague direction because being specific is the best. I kind of had a specific idea in my head of how I wanted things to go and where I wanted to take it. I don’t mind letting others take it where they want to take it as long as there’s still the initial idea. It has gone across the board, through the hands of all the other designers and when it’s done, it’s going to look good.

Are you done yet?

Gary: No, we have bits and pieces of everything, we just have to put everything together and polish it – make it look good!

Are things always this last minute?

Gary: We’re usually better off. In past years – this is my third year – we’ve been better with time, but we’re pushing it right now. That’s the nature of the MMVAs, though, everything’s last minute. Nothing’s confirmed when you want it to be and everyone’s working on the fly.


How did you come up with the logo then?

Rafael: I was discussing the whole neon lights concept with Gary and I wanted to do a logo that would look good in 2D, but would look great in 3D. I always start with sketches. I wanted something very angular and I always do everything custom typography. So I sketched it first then took it to Illustrator. The logo was originally backwards until I hit a point where I was like, ‘Where am I going to add the name?’ and flipped it back around. There are always minor little details being pulled back and forth to create a nice fluidity.

Gary: It’s important to strike a balance between being too abstract and being able to make out what it is and I think that’s accomplished here. Rael nailed it!


Posted: Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 11:30 am by


Categories: Backstage, Blog.