Over the years, numerous telecommunication companies have emerged specializing in various fields including network equipment, cellular, broadband and wireless communications and what not. With increasing competitors in the market, every brand needs an identity to stand out from the rest. Many brands went through a re-branding; some succeeded in the process while others had a pit-down fall. Being in the Telecom field, I was particularly interested in writing this post. A look at the logos of some of the leading Telecommunication brands and their brief overview is provided in this post.
AT&T Bell System
AT&T stands for “American Telephone & Telegraph”. The logo had numerous revisions over the years. Saul Bass designed the 6th AT&T Bell System graphic logo in 1983 which stood prominent than the past logos. However, the logo went under another change and was designed to look three-dimensional, “representing the expanding breadth and depth of services that the new AT&T family of companies provides to customers”, as the company representatives stated. AT&T Inc. is the largest provider of local, long distance telephone services in the United States, and is the second largest provider of wireless service in USA, with over 150 million total customers.
Here is an interesting PDF provided by the company’s corporate website showing the “Timeline evolution of the company’s logo”.
Vodafone Group is a British multinational mobile network operator and is the world’s largest mobile telecommunication network company, based on revenue. It currently operates in about 31 countries with partner networks in further 40 countries with a subscriber count of more than 427 million. In 1997, Vodafone introduced its Speechmark logo, as it is a quotation mark in a circle; the O’s in the Vodafone logotype represent opening and closing quotation marks, suggesting conversation.
Verizon Communications Inc. is an American broadband and telecommunications company. It was formally known as Bell Atlantic. The current name is a portmanteau of veritas and horizon. Despite the company’s reputation, I think most of you would agree with me that the current Verizon logo looks terrible. The red to white gradients look so cheap on print ads and mobile phones. With so many other providers taking on the “cool side”, Verizon certainly needs a re-branding.
Orange is the brand used by France Télécom for its mobile network operator and Internet service provider subsidiaries. It is the fifth largest telecom operator in the world, with over 189 million customers as of 2009[update]. The Orange brand was created by an internal team at Microtel headed by Chris Moss (Marketing Director) and supported by Martin Keogh, Rob Furness and Ian Pond. Wolff Olins was responsible for designing the brand values and logo and advertising agency WCRS created the Orange slogan “The Future’s bright, the Future’s Orange” along with the now famous advertising. The logo is square because it was felt that the word orange could be seen as a fruit and it needed to be strong in the business world rather like American Express and Hertz. It was also important to establish it as the colour Orange, which is seen as a strong Feng Shui colour.
France Télécom is the main telecommunications company in France, the third-largest in Europ e and one of the largest in the world, and has nearly 160 million customers worldwide. The France Telecom logo was designed in 1999 by Landor. The colours are blue (Pantone 280), red (Pantone 485) and orange (Pantone 021). France Telecom uses its proprietary typeface Bienvenue, designed by Jean-François Porchez at Porchez Typofonderie.
China Mobile provides mobile voice and multimedia servic es through its nationwide mobile telecommunications network, the largest of its kind in the world. As of 2009, it is the world’s largest mobile phone operator, with more than 508 million subscribers, the largest Chinese company listed overseas and the largest telecom carrier in Asia. China Mobile expanded overseas in 2007, with the purchase of Paktel in Pakistan, and launched the ZoNG brand there a year later. CMPak (China Mobile Pakistan re-branded Paktel to ZoNG. The current ZoNG logo comes with a special emphasis on its “o”.
T-Mobile is a mobile telephone provider, owned by Deutsche Telekom (the T stands for Telekom) with several GSM networks in Europe and the United States. Globally, T-Mobile has some 150 million subscribers, making it the world’s seventh largest mobile phone service provider by subscribers and the third largest multinational after the United Kingdom’s Vodafone and Spain’s Telefónica. C-Netz (“C Network”, marketed as C-Tel) was Germany’s first true mobile phone network. On July 1, 1992, the Deutsche Bundespost Telekom began to operate Germany’s first GSM network, along with the C-Netz, as its DeTeMobil subsidiary, and was known as D-Netz, and Telekom named its service D1. In 1996, as Deutsche Telekom began to brand its subsidiaries with the T- prefix, the network was renamed T-D1 and DeTeMobil became T-Mobil; the C-Netz, in the process of being wound down, was not rebranded, and was shut down in 2000.
Johnson Banks thinks that the T-Mobile logo needs a little bit of a re-do, “because of the odd proportions of the logo, the ‘T’ ends up miles from ‘Mobile’ “. He has suggested a re-do of the logo here, which is quite interesting.
Sprint Nextel Corporation is a telecommunications company based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company owns and operates the third largest wireless telecommunications network in United States, with 48 million customers, behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility. The company was created in 2005 by the purchase of Nextel Communications by Sprint Corporation. On December 15, 2004, Sprint and NEXTEL announced they would merge to form Sprint Nextel Corporation. The former logo used by Nextel was re-branded with slight changes after the merge.
The new logo of the Sprint Nextel Corporation was one of the first attempts at seamlessly meshing the initial brands of both the Sprint Corporation and Nextel Communications. The logo is a blend of the former Sprint “pin drop” marketing image as well as the colors of Nextel’s bright yellow and black logo design with its cellular service level bars that, in past marketing, would get “typed” from a single vertical black line. The Sprint logo was designed in 2005 by Lippincott Mercer. It uses the typeface “TheSans”. Sprint logo creates a nice contrast between the bright yellow and black, and also suits well on dark cased phones.
BT Group, abbreviated to British Telecom is the privatised former state telecommunications operator in the United Kingdom. It is the dominant fixed line telecommunications and broadband Internet provider in the UK, and also operates in more than 170 countries around the world. For more than a decade British Telecom used a red and blue man blowing his trumpet as their corporate identity. A re-design was made by Wolff Ollins in 2003. The colorful combination depicting the “connected world” globe has been used to date as the logo for BT Openworld, the Internet operations of BT.
See some more photos here.
Etisalat is a UAE-based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 17 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As of November 2009, Etisalat is the 13th largest mobile network operator in the world, with a total customer base of 94 million. The current identity reflects Etisalat’s values of transparency, optimism, openness, simplicity and reliability. The green colour in the logo signifies life, growth and renewal. Green is the national colour of the UAE, and Etisalat has a long and close association with its home nation- the UAE.
An important milestone was Etisalat’s commencement of international operations in January 2001, when under the brand name of Ufone it started operating out of Islamabad, Pakistan. Another international investment was made in Mobily, Saudi Arabia. Mobily, Etihad Etisalat offers Saudi Arabia subscribers conventional and 3.5G mobile telephony services, and has floated shares on the Saudi stock market.
NTT docomo Inc. is the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan. The name is officially an abbreviation of the phrase, “do communications over the mobile network“, and is also from a compound word dokomo, meaning “everywhere” in Japanese. It is a subsidiary of Japan’s incumbent telephone operator NTT.According to the company, “The new logo’s color is red, which symbolizes the company’s energy and dynamism.” The new logo is a well balanced and refreshingly restrained version as compared to the previous logo which was too noisy and lacked the “grown-up” look. However, critics regard the new logo as too simple and “un-inspirational”.
Tata Group, a famous corporate brand partnered with NTT Docomo to introduce a new cellular service in India, named as Tata Docomo. The identity design for the service was executed by Wolff Olins and has a chuncky geometric look. The logo has been used in a number of different color combinations.
Docomo has been organizing a number of contests lately including animation, music contests etc. The response has been great and numerous creative entries were received. Head over to create.tatadocomo.com to check out the entries and latest contests.
Telenor is the incumbent telecommunications company in Norway, with headquarters located at Fornebu, close to Oslo. It is currently[update] ranked as the sixth largest mobile phone operator in the world, with more than 172 million subscribers.
Djuice (short of digital juice) is a youth based mobile phone plan from Telenor, available in about seven countries. Djuice was re-branded by Wolff Olins who also played a role in the re-branding of its parent company, Telenor. The new logo has an ‘explosion’ effect and has been used in a variation of colors.
Swisscom is Switzerland’s largest Telecom company, delivering solutions and products for mobile, voice and data communications. It is a successor company to the former state-owned PTT. Swisscom announced its new visual identity on 14 December 2007. Part of the new identity included a redesigned logo with a moving picture element and has a 3D feel to it. The new brand was developed by Moving Brands with assistance from Dalton Maag, well known for their typographic work with BMW and UBS. Moving Brands revealed that whilst working on the project, they set up an internal blogsite that documented the whole creative process and allowed all those working on it to exchange ideas in real time. This helped in much more contribution from the team and served as a platform for discussion and feedback. Check out some exciting pics over at Moving Brands website.
Here is a complete time line on the History of the brand.
Batelco (Bahrain Telecommunications Company) is the principal telecommunications company of Bahrain and is headquartered in Bahrain. The original logo was designed by Landor in 2003. The identity was re-designed by Futurebrand. Although the previous logo was generic, but had a bit of dull look. Batelco needed to upgrade its identity with the introduction of new competitors in the market. The new logo has a remarkable strong feel to it. The “B” icon is well executed in the sense that it represents the English “B” as well as the Arabic syllable. (The dot below the shape is for the Arabic “B” part).
Telecom New Zealand
Telecom New Zealand is a Wellington, New Zealand-based telephone company, and is now New Zealand’s second largest mobile operator. The new identity for the brand was launched in October 2008. The new logo has been designed by Auckland based Designworks, who also designed the identity for Telecom’s XT Network. The new logo has an asterisk shaped scribbled look, although it has been termed as a spark by the company. Agreed that the logo has a modern look but I still don’t get the gradients and soft glow part in it.
Some pictures from the launching event.
Pakistan Telecommunication Company
Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) is the largest telecommunication company in Pakistan. This company provides telephony services to the nation and still holds the status of backbone for country’s telecommunication infrastructure despite arrival of a dozen other telcos including telecom giants like Telenor and China Mobile. A part of the shares and control has been sold to Etisalat. The logo went under a change in 2007 as a part of the privatization process.
Bharti Airtel is the largest cellular service provider in India, with more than 110 million subscribers as of 2009[update], and is now the world’s third-largest, single-country mobile operator and sixth-largest integrated telecom operator. The idea behind the logo was to give it a younger feel symbolizing innovation, energy and friendliness.
It must be pure coincidental but the logo designs of Airtel and Youtube hold a striking resemblance!
Saudi Telecom Company
Saudi Telecom Company is a Saudi Arabia-based telecommunications company that offers landline, mobile and Internet services. Relatively a large-scale operator, STC has more than 18 million subscribers in Saudi Arabia, and in addition, they operate in Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Kuwait and South Africa. It revealed its new logo in 2008 (which I honestly speaking, can’t make anything out of it). It looks more of a blurred smudge or something. In fact I liked their previous version. During the launching campaign of the new logo, STC modified the front page of most of the newspapers with the colors of their new ‘colorful’ logo, which was very annoying. Turquoisebranding was responsible for the re-design. Here is what they have to say.
- Courtesy: Itachirido (Flickr)
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