This page only shows primary logo variants.
1970–1971 1971–1984 1984–1998 1998–2002 2002–2019 2009–2019 2019–present
1970–1971 1971–1984 1984–1998 1998–2002 2002–2019 2009–2019 2019–present

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is the largest provider of public television in the United States, consisting of over 350 member stations. The network distributes educational programs, including Nova, PBS NewsHour, and Sesame Street. Being a non-profit organization, the network is co-funded by its member stations, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and from citizens of the United States.

PBS was founded on November 3, 1969; first launching on October 5, 1970. It served to be the replacement for National Educational Television, which at the time was being threatened by its parent company—Ford Foundation—along with the CPB to have its funding cut unless it merged with New Jersey-based station WNDT, in which NET decided to agree to the merge deal. WNDT was changed into WNET on October 1, 1970, with NET ceasing operations on October 4; PBS began broadcasting the next day.


PBS logo 1970
Designer:  Unknown
Typography:  Neue Haas Grotesk
Launched:  October 5, 1970

The first logo of PBS consisted of the words on top of each other, with "PUBLIC" in red, "BROADCASTING" in yellow, and "SERVICE" in blue.


PBS 1971 Without Text
Designer:  Ernie Smith of
Lubalin, Smith, Carnase, Inc. under direction of
Lawrence K. Grossman, Inc.
Typography:  ITC Avant Garde Gothic
Launched:  September 18, 1971

This logo premiered in 1971, and was designed by Ernie Smith of Lubalin, Smith, Carnase, Inc. 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.


PBS 1984
Designer:  Chermayeff & Geismar
Typography:  ITC Lubalin Graph Demi
Launched:  September 30, 1984

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 was also used on PBS Home Video.


PBS 1998
Designer:  Publicis
Hal Rainey
Lee Hunt Associates
Typography:  ITC Lubalin Graph Demi
Launched:  September 21, 1998

In 1998, the "P-Head" logo was placed in a black circle, with the "P-Head" now in white. This logo is still used at many of its member stations.


PBS 2002
Designer:  PMcD Design
Typography:  PMN Caecilia 75 Heavy
Launched:  September 23, 2002

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.


PBS 2009 3D
Designer:  Eyeball
Typography:  PBS Explorer
Launched:  September 28, 2009

This logo is the same, but now the P-Head circle has a gradient effect. In promos and IDs, the logo is 3D and its colors can vary. This logo continued to be used on some PBS member stations until early 2020.


PBS 2019
Designer:  Lippincott
Typography:  PBS Sans (custom-designed, modified)
Launched:  November 4, 2019

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. Additionally, the logo's color scheme was changed from black to blue.

External links

National Educational Television