AT&T has gone through a lot of changes since being founded by telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell in 1885, becoming a monopoly, and being broken up by anti-monopoly laws. In modern times, AT&T also provides internet and television services in addition to landlines and mobile phones.
The many changes of the company have resulted in several logo alterations. AT&T has has over ten logos in its long history. This article will tell you a little more about how these logos changed over the years and let you know more about the design of the modern ATT logo.
ATT Logo Design Elements
The main element of the ATT logo is a globe emblem. Six curving blue stripes are alternated with five curving white stripes to create the impression of a three dimensional globe. The blue color used in AT&T’s logo is a bright, cool-toned version of cyan that was intentionally chosen to show up on both dark and light backgrounds.
To the right side of the AT&T globe is the corporate logotype which says “AT&T” in bold, black, all-capitalized letters. This customized san-serif font shares many similarities with the classic Helvetica font, but it is slightly thicker and straighter.
Changes and Evolution
There have been many changes to the logo shape over the years, including a few subtle alterations and some major renovations. At first, the logo was just a black bell that said “Long Distance Telephone” in white lettering. By 1900, a circle had been added around the bell that said “American Telephone and Telegraph Co. and Associated Companies” in black lettering and the phrase “Bell System” was added beneath the bell. The bell surrounded by a ring underwent several minor alterations.
The next major change to the AT&T logo did not occur until 1964 when the company adopted a logo that was the bell circle set next to the word “AT&T .” After a few years, the bell was simplified to a basic outline, and the symbol migrated to the top of the AT&T wordmark. AT&T unveiled a brand new logo in the early 1980s when they changed the bell to the striped globe. Over the next two decades, AT&T used essentially the same logo, but they occasionally changed the number or curvature of the stripes. In 2005, the white and blue stripes were switched, and a three dimensional shading effect was added.
For the first 80 years of the company’s life, AT&T had no color beyond black and white. Once they switched to the cyan shade in 1969, AT&T made this color their signature shade. It has showed up on every logo since.
With one minor exception, all fonts used in the AT&T have been a variation of a capitalized, san serif font with even, regular lettering. From 2005 to 2015, AT&T attempted to appeal to a younger demographic by using a lowercase lettering, but this decision was canceled in the 2015 logo update.
AT&T uses a globe as their symbol because they wanted to represent the global reach of the company. The white stripes are thicker on the left, upper side to represent the location of America. These white stripes represent the gradual growth of the company’s communications network as it has stretched to other nations.
AT&T designers had a few goals in mind when they made the newest version of the logo. They increased the amount of negative white space so that the logo would be legible at small sizes. For even more versatility, the blue color was slightly lightened and brightened so it can show up equally well on dark backgrounds, screens, signs, and paper. The globe was given a more upright appearance to convey stability to viewers. AT&T also switched back to their old capital lettering to reference their lengthy history and appear more respectable.
- The font used for the logo is part of a custom font suite called “Aleck” after company founder Alexander Graham Bell.
- AT&T originally meant “American Telephone and Telegraph Company,” but telegraphs are no longer a primary focus of the company.
- AT&T’s decision to switch the white and blue stripes in their updated logo ended up being rather pricey because this minor change required them to replace all the giant globe signs on their skyscrapers.
Despite all the corporate restructuring, mergers, and changes in product, AT&T has managed to retain a consistent customer base. Their logo might change slightly, but it always keeps the key elements of a blue circle and a bold company name to retain brand recognition. This consistency has helped the AT&T logo to represent a worldwide telecommunications company.