AT&T gets new logo, still won't sell me a telegraph
Telecom giant AT&T recently revamped its logo, following its purchase by SBC. Trivial? Maybe at a glance, but the financial implications are enormous. Just think of the costs the company will have to incur:
An extensive re-branding initiative will occur over several months, with changes planned for the following:We're talking a long-term change, costing millions upon millions of dollars. You can't just roll into Earl Scheib and get 50,000 trucks painted overnight. So it's a big deal. Time for some critical analysis. Here's the design that used to grace Ma Bell's shingle: The old logo -- which was jealously protected -- consists of a blue circle made of latitudinal lines, on the upper left portion of which is projected a round, glowing spot. Both a solid (shown above) and a gradient version were produced. The gradient version is pretty much the same, only it has various shades of blue, which offer a more spherical feel. Below this symbol is "AT&T." Let's take a look at the portions of the old logo and what they represent:
- Nearly 50,000 company vehicles.
- More than 6,000 company buildings
- Roughly 40,000 uniforms and hardhats worn by company service representatives.
- More than 30 million monthly customer bills.
- Millions of business cards, customer information pamphlets, and phone and online directories.
- Company Web sites.
- Blue circle: The Earth. It may be American Telephone and Telegraph, but it reaches across the globe.
- Latitudinal lines: Connote the global and communicative nature of the company, while visually turning a circle into a sphere.
- Glowing spot: Located in the northern and western hemispheres of this logo, the glowing spot represents the enlightened modernity (thanks to Ma Bell) distinctive of the American telecommunications system. It's the A in AT&T.
- "AT&T": Printed in a bold, don't-fuck-with-us, monopolistic typeface.
- Blue and white circle: Still the earth, though the weather appears to be significantly cloudier than it was in the '80s, and the planet is much more translucent. Possibly meant to evoke ideas of the transparency and openness that global communications can bring. Or maybe not.
- Latitudinal lines, with see-through effect: Same idea as the old logo, but intended for a more pronounced 3-D effect. It comes off looking like a beach ball.
- Glowing spot: Much less pronounced, and reversed in color. Here, the latitudinal blue lines swell. The placement is still in the northern and western hemisphere, though that's more subtle now, since the top of the globe has been rotated towards the viewer and to the left a few degrees. Again, it's an effort to emphasize the three-dimensional nature of the design. I'm not sure why; that whole round-earth thing was settled a while back. Or maybe not.
- Lowercase letters: The boldface is gone, and the letters are kinder and gentler. A sort of cutesy aw-shucks, we're-still-here false modesty. Crap. An $80 billion corporation has no business acting like a teenaged girl named Staci who dots the I with a heart.