Nickelodeon began transmission on December 1, 1977 under the name Pinwheel. The name Pinwheel is derived from the preschool-oriented program that aired on the network from launch until 1990.
In 1979, Pinwheel was renamed Nickelodeon. The name was derived from a type of movie theater which charged five cents for admission. This concept is represented in their first logo and on-air package, which depicts a child (or older man, as seen here) looking into a kinetoscope within the N of the logotype.
This logo was introduced in 1981. The logo was designed by Lou Dorfsman and consists of rainbow letters set in Frankfurter font; a pinball was added by Bob Klein and placed behind the letters. The pinball theme was used in the network's IDs during the period including one that used early '80s-era computer-generated graphics.
Beginning on October 8, 1984, Nickelodeon began utilizing a theme with their multitude of logos: orange silhouettes with the word "Nickelodeon" written in Balloon Extra Bold font displayed on top of it. Eventually, the "splat" design would be the most used; representing the slime that Nickelodeon has been known for since the network began broadcasting the Canadian series You Can't Do That on Television in 1981, a trademark which Nickelodeon would later adopt as part of its own programming. Designed by Fred/Alan, Inc., originally with just a star in mind, it has grown to be known as the most well-known and recognizable Nickelodeon logo. The wordmark was rarely - if ever - seen isolated from a shape of some kind.
In April 2003, Nickelodeon began to favor splat themed logos in place of their other designs. Almost all shapes besides the splat were discontinued around this time.
A new logo and look for Nickelodeon was unveiled in February 2009, and began use in the United States on September 28 of that year. The logo design is credited to Eric Zim, and on-screen presentation 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, with their logos in this style. In April 2011, Nickelodeon unveiled new variations of the background that also interact with the logo's color. The current font used on this logo is a custom font which resembles Bauhaus. This logo was placed 3rd in Part 2 (the best) of the 2009 Brand New Awards.
The alternative "Nick" version of the logo is used more often in the United States than the other logo. The new Nickelodeon logo was rolled out internationally during 2010 accordingly:
- January 29: France
- February 15: UK and 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, and Nickelodeon/Other IDs