“Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” were the words that launched MTV in the US on August 1st, 1981. At a time when music videos were still relatively unusual, the Viacom-owned station soon revolutionised the way that music was consumed. MTV’s cultural legacy is monumental, not only for the way it popularised the music video and music award ceremonies (with the VMAs and EMAs in Europe), but also for its own branding. ‘MTV generation’ became a widely used term, and the logo is among the most recognised of our time.
As MTV expanded, so did its popularity across the globe, and in 1997, a London office was opened. Now set within a grass-covered building in Camden, also housing Nickelodeon, Channel 5 and Comedy Central, the London team are responsible for output in the UK and Ireland, across MTV’s main channel and nine additional music channels. As part of their remit, the 13-strong creative department are tasked with upholding the company’s iconic visual identity, working on everything from promos for MTV-owned programmes to overseeing the look and feel of the recent EMAs in London. We spoke to creative director Kate Dunn to find out how the company’s character translates to its working culture.