iconic logo – HMV (presentation)

I chose to look at the icon ( HMV logo ) which was designed by Francis Barraud.

It consists of a dog looking into a gramophone looking confused at where the sound is coming from. 

Francis inherited some items from his brother Mark when he died in the late 1800’s, the items where an early cylinder phonogram player, cylinder recordings of Marks voice and Marks dog a fox terrier named Nipper.

When Francis would play the records of his brothers voice, Nipper would run to the phonogram and listen. 

Francis then painted the scene of nipper looking into the phonogram. On February 11th 1899 Francis filled in an application for the copyright of the painting “dog looking at and listening to a phonogram” Thinking the Edison- Bell company in New Jersey might find it useful he presented it to James E Hough who said “dogs don’t listen to phonographs” 

 He then went on to try and sell the painting but no-one was interested. Then in 1899 the Gramophone company purchased the painting and slogan “his masters voice” for £100 by 1900 it was their corporate logo. Around 8 years later they changed their name to HMV after the painting in an early instance of branding. 

The Victor talking machine company then saw the logo a few years later and acquired the U.S rights for themselves. When RCA acquired victor in the 1920’s it became their logo.

The original name for the painting which had now become a logo was “dog looking at and listening to a phonogram” 

This is an icon because it became an international symbol of quality and excellence for the Victor talking machine company, nipper lives on through the brand names and has even appeared in ads on television with his son a puppy named chipper who was added to the RCA family in 1991.

Nipper continues to be the mascot of the HMV group.

Victor company of Japan also used a version of a dog and trumpet logo within Japan which includes “his masters voice” slogan. HMV is not allowed to use nipper in Japan or Canada. 

A huge 4 ton Nipper can be seen on the old RTA now owned by Arnoff moving and storage  on broadway in Albany New York.  

Nipper also now sits on top of the Maryland Historical Society building at Park Avenue and West Centre Street in Baltimore. Though smaller than the Albany Nipper, Baltimore’s is the only one of the two to include a gramophone for Nipper to listen to.