Nickelodeon first began transmissions on December 1, 1977, under the name Pinwheel. Its original name was derived from the preschool-oriented program that aired on the network from its launch until 1990.
In 1979, Pinwheel was renamed as Nickelodeon; the name was derived from a type of movie theatre which charged 5p for admission (a fusion of the words "nickel" and "odeon", a word for "theatre"). This concept is represented in their first logo and on-air package, which depicts a man looking into a kinetoscope within the letter "N" of the wordmark.
A new logo designed by Lou Dorfsman was introduced in 1981. It consists of the network's name spelled in rainbow letters (stylized as "NiCKELODEON") set in the Frankfurter font, with a pinball illustrated by Bob Klein placed behind it. The pinball theme was used in the network's IDs during the period, including one that used early 1980s-era computer graphics.
On October 8, 1984, Nickelodeon began utilizing a new theme with their multitude of logos: orange silhouettes with the word "Nickelodeon" (written in the Balloon Extra Bold font) on them. Eventually, the "splat" design would be the most used, representing the slime Nickelodeon has been known for since it began broadcasting the Canadian series You Can't Do That on Television in 1981; Nickelodeon would later adopt the trademark as part of its own programming. Designed by Fred/Alan, Inc., originally with just a star in mind, it has grown to be the most well-known and recognized Nickelodeon logo. The wordmark was rarely, if ever, seen isolated from a shape of some kind.
In April 2003, Nickelodeon began to use more splat-themed logos rather than other designs. Almost all shapes besides the splat were discontinued around this time.
A new logo and on-air look for Nickelodeon were unveiled in February 2009, and began use in the United States on September 28. The design is credited to Eric Zim, and the on-air brand identity was produced at Trollbäck & Company. Also, during this time, Nickelodeon's sister networks The N, Noggin, and Nicktoons Network rebranded as TeenNick, Nick Jr. and Nicktoons, respectively, with their logos also in the style of this one. The typeface used on this logo is a custom font which resembles Bauhaus (now known as Litebulb). This logo was placed 3rd in Part 2 (the best) of the 2009 Brand New Awards. In April 2011, Nickelodeon unveiled new variations of the background that interact with the logo's color.
The new Nickelodeon logo was rolled out internationally during 2010 accordingly:
- January 29: France
- February 15: United Kingdom / Ireland
- March 1: Poland 
- March 31: Germany/Austria/Switzerland
- April 5: Latin America
- June 25: India 
- For other related logos and images see: Nickelodeon/Other, Nickelodeon/Idents, Nickelodeon/Other IDs, and Nickelodeon/Logo Variations