On October 5, 1970, National Educational Television was replaced by the Public Broadcasting Service. The first logo consisted of the words on top of each other, with "PUBLIC" in red, "BROADCASTING" in yellow, and "SERVICE" in blue.
Ernie Smith Herb Lubalin
ITC Avant Garde Gothic
September 18, 1971
This logo premiered in 1971, and was designed by Ernie Smith and Herb Lubalin, the later of whom also designed the accompanying typeface ITC Avant Garde Gothic. The "P" resembles a human head (nicknamed the "P-Head" by many fans) while the "B" and "S" are more overtly geometric. The nickname for this is the "Tri-Colored Everyman P-Heads". The logo was still used on new episodes of PBS shows until 1985, even as the next logo below was introduced. PBS Digital Studios adopted this logo (sans the company name underneath) in 2014 with the introduction of its new logo which includes the tri-colored letters and was used until 2019, when the new PBS logo was introduced.
Chermayeff & Geismar designed a modified version of the "P-Head" from the previous logo and placed it in a forward-facing position and added two additional facial outlines on the edge, one in negative space and one in positive space. The font used for the "PBS" identification was designed specifically for the network. It was first seen at the PBS annual meeting on March 30, 1984, and went into official use on September 30 as the channel officially went by the PBS abbreviation. The logo is also used on PBS Home Video.
In 2002, the logo was redesigned so that the P-Head circle appears bigger than the text. This wordmark uses the font Caecilia 75 Heavy instead of Lubalin Graph Demi. Sometimes, the circle is 3D. This logo is still used at many of its member stations.
To coincide with the 50th anniversary of its founding, a new logo for PBS designed by Lippincott was unveiled on November 4, 2019. The P-Head design has been slightly modified, with rounded edges around the nose, and a new custom font, named PBS Sans, for the wordmark was used. Also, the logo's color was changed to blue.