AT&T differs from other telecommunications companies in its scale. It is one of the largest enterprises in the specialized US market, which provides wireless and fixed communication services to both private users and international corporations.
Meaning and History
The telecom giant’s identity has been influenced by structural reorganizations and conflicts with the US government, so its history can be traced back to AT&T emblems. And she is very rich because this company was founded by one of the founders of telephony – Alexander Graham Bell.
1885 – 1900
In 1885, based on the Bell Telephone Company, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company was created, engaged in laying cable lines for long-distance communications. Its logo reflected the Bell name: the artists depicted a black bell with the white inscription “LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE” in a frame of three quadrangles.
1900 – 1921
At the beginning of the new millennium, the emblem became round. The words “LOCAL AND” have been added before the phrase on the bell to clarify the company’s scope. Also, new inscriptions appeared: “AMERICAN TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH CO. AND ASSOCIATED COMPANIES “in a ring,” BELL SYSTEM “in a circle, and” 1900 “outside geometric shapes.
1921 – 1939
For regional companies, the same logo was used, but with different inscriptions. In the upper half of the ring was the company’s name, and in the bell was the phrase “BELL SYSTEM.”
1939 – 1964
In 1939, the design of the bell was slightly changed. The font has become clear and strict.
1964 – 1969
The logo, adopted in 1964, first featured an abbreviated telecommunications company name: AT&T. It was on the left, above the phrase “and Associated Companies.” On the right was a mini bell in a black ring.
1969 – 1982
American graphic designer Saul Bass has simplified the logo by removing all unnecessary lettering. He left only the abbreviation “AT&T” (bottom) and a minimalist bluebell in a white circle (top).
1982 – 1996
The US government did not like the fact that AT&T was a monopoly in its niche. To rectify the situation, it was forcibly divided into several parts. The authorities also banned her from using the old logo, which forced the designer of Soul Bass to redesign the identity elements. He changed the bell for a globe, giving the drawing a three-dimensional effect.
This is how the emblem called “Death Star” appeared. The globe consisted of twelve blue lines of varying thickness, which represented the telecommunications network. Under the segmented circle, as before, was the inscription “AT&T” in Omnes.
1996 – 2005
In 1996, four lines were reduced by the improvised globe, but its size did not change because the remaining eight lines were increased.
2005 – 2015
When the company merged with SBC Communications, its logo acquired a full 3D effect. To do this, a radial gradient was added, the blue and white lines were swapped, and the globe had clear boundaries. The changes were intended to symbolize the expanding range of AT&T services. The letters in the inscription are now lowercase. The author of the new design is the Interbrand consulting agency.
2015 – present
In 2015, Interbrand undertook another redesign with AT&T Brand Identity & Design. They developed the current version of the emblem, in which the white and blue stripes were reversed again – Circle two-dimensional like Death Star in 1982. Lettering moved to the upper case.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The graphical element used to be three-dimensional, but AT&T executives felt the 2D version better reflected the company’s image. It combines style, simplicity, versatility, and the absence of unnecessary details. As for the meaning of the circle, it remains a globe, which symbolizes the brand’s global nature. Lines, in turn, represent telecommunications links between cities.
From 1969 to 2005, the text on the logo was written in Omnes. In 2005, the designers switched to Avenir Medium, created by Adrian Frutiger. Moreover, as AT&T developed, not only the style of the inscription changed but also the size of the letters: until 2015, they were lowercase – an atypical solution for most companies.
There is a smooth transition from the classic black and white monochrome to the signature black and white and blue palette for the color matching.