$99 Music Videos 16

Apr 16, 2009 / Erik Peterson
$99 Music Videos Logo

$99 Music Videos

Lee submitted this logo for $99 Music Videos, an independent music channel of music videos that have all been made for less than $99 (time not included). He made the following remarks about the company,

“Most musicians and filmmakers are unable to spend thousands of dollars on a music video. But in the age of digital film making, you no longer need those kinds of budgets. In fact, amazing original music videos are being made for the web every day for next to nothing. It was in this spirit that $99 Music Videos was born. We wanted to get back to the basics about what it is to make a music video; so we went with a really basic, yet strong logotype.”

The following critique is based on one designers opinion and experience. I will ask a question or two during the critique and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Design Principals

The $99 Music Videos logo is simple and bold. The typeface appears to be Helvetica Neue Bold. I don’t understand the upc/barcode graphic below the text. To me, the upc graphic says nothing about music, videos, or cost effective music videos. More than anything the barcode evokes ideas of retail and monetary transactions. I say loose the upc/barcode graphic, it’s not doing anything for the design.

Question for the readers

please respond in the comments below

What do you think about the upc/barcode graphic? Is it working for you?

If you take the upc graphic out of the design, you might consider bringing in a graphic element that ties to music or video. Another option would be to rework the type and not include a graphic element at all.

Functionality / Versatility

The bold typeface choice for the logo works well from a functionality and readability standpoint. When the logo is used small next to the artist and song name in the videos it is still legible. However, the upc graphic does get a little blurry when used small.

Does the Logo Work for the Audience?

I think Lee did the right thing in keeping this logo simple and somewhat generic. The music video channel focuses on low cost collaborative work. The generic look of the logo represents the overall concept of the music video channel quite well. Ok, maybe the collaboration part isn’t communicated, but the low cost part is conveyed.


The logo is not particularly unique, as a matter of fact it’s really quite generic with it’s use of Helvetica Neue and no color. As I stated before though, I think it fits the business.


The typography in this logo is extremely important, since that’s about all there is to it. With that said, very close attention should be paid to the kerning, leading and alignment. These things are always important in logo design, but here they come to the forefront as there is nothing to distract the viewer. Your typography must be spot on! The problem here is, it’s not. There are kerning issues throughout. One glaring example surrounds the letter ‘o’. I would also like to see some more leading between the words ‘music’ and ‘videos’. The ‘d’ is uncomfortably close to the ‘u’.

Alignment issues

The alignment of the left edge of ‘videos’ is off. Just a bit too far to the left. The word ‘music’ (in exact alignment with the top of ‘99’) visually appears slightly higher than ‘99’ because of the curved top of the ‘9’. Sometimes exact alignments need to be adjusted in order to look right visually.

Possible Improvements

So what is the best way to improve the logo? Well I think have made some comments above that can certainly offer some direction. Here’s a list of actionable items.

  1. Consider removing the upc/barcode graphic from the mark. With the upc graphic removed, you’ll have to revaluate the design. You could just drop the text ‘music videos’ to the baseline of ‘99’, however that may not be enough to stand on it’s own. In which case you could reorganize the type or introduce a graphic that makes more sense for the business (think: film, video, music, bands, collaboration, etc.).
  2. Really take a close look at the typography. Make the kerning, leading and alignment adjustments needed to make the mark pleasing to the eye.

Overall, I think you have a good start on the logo design. And with some refinement you can definitely improve it. Please know that my intention in critiquing your work is not to hurt feelings, but to offer constructive feedback. I hope it was helpful. Best of luck, to you!

I appreciate and welcome your comments, and look forward to hearing from you soon. I purposely don’t cover every possible improvement that can be made to this logo, so go for it if you think I missed anything. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and appropriate.

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We enjoy your comments

16 Comments so far. Keep 'em Coming.


By Paul Turner

04.16.2009 at 12:58 PM

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I agree, the barcode doesn’t add anything for me, although I do like the idea of having some element there other than just type - perhaps something to signify music (a stave?) or video or both.


By Sergej

04.16.2009 at 02:06 PM

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The barcode doesn’t add anything to the logo in my opinion.
I think it would be better if the barcode would be replaced with a film or sheetmusic graphic (maybe a bit corny but better than a barcode).


By Andrew Minogue

04.16.2009 at 10:50 PM

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Personally, I think that the barcode graphic ties the whole logo together and explains the concept of the show too. Considering that the show is about making a music video on a set budget and buying items (which is where the barcode fits)


By AJ Teachout

04.17.2009 at 01:44 PM

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I agree with the barcode critique, but for a different reason. I think that the barcode is meant to show that it is an off-the-shelf, fixed price.  You only pay $99, that’s it. 

In that effort, however, it becomes more like a product than it is a service.  In my opinion, the barcode may cheapen the service by showing that it is an off-the-shelf product as opposed to a creative service. (i.e. template vs. hand crafted)

Maybe a film reel or film tape may serve better underneath the text.  I think a text only logo for this service would make it a far too generic logo for a creative service.


By Matt T Davidson

04.18.2009 at 11:52 PM

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At the beginning of the post I was ready to defend the bar code, but by the end you had me convinced.

I like it because it references money and spending. I also saw it as taking a shot at big budget videos. Almost used as an oxymoron here.

The fact that it would lose face in a small size and the thought of using something playing more toward a film reel brought me back around to your point of view.


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By Allen

11.12.2019 at 05:22 AM

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The logo is not particularly unique, as a matter of fact it’s really quite generic with it’s use of Helvetica Neue and no color. As I stated before though, I think it fits the business. C_C4HL2C_92 exam question


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