In late 1982, through an agreement between AT&T and the U.S. Department of Justice, presiding Federal District Court Judge Harold M. Greene ruled that AT&T divest itself of the 22 Bell Operating telephone companies as of January 1, 1984.
This agreement perpetuated the design development of the AT&T globe symbol. Initially, the globe symbol was shown in conjunction with the logotype "American Bell" to identify any AT&T subsidiary providing terminal equipment and enhanced service on a unregulated basis.
Later, Judge Greene ruled that the "Bell" identification must be assigned exclusively to operating companies. Thus, the globe symbol was joined with the new name and logotype "AT&T" to form the identification signature for the restructured AT&T. The globe symbol was designed by Bass/Yager & Associates. Literally dozens of symbol concepts were explored. The concepts were presented to the highest levels of AT&T management along with the design firm's recommendations as to which concepts should be considered the most promising candidate designs. It was from this group that the globe symbol was chosen to become the keynote graphic identification for AT&T.
The globe symbol symbolizes a world circled by electronic communications. Specifically, the symbol is made up of very carefully delineated "highlight" and "shadow" elements. As a result, the symbol may be reproduced to give the impression of a three-dimensional sphere illuminated from a distant source. The AT&T Corporate Signature has achieved significant levels of recognition and has become one of the most highly recognized icons.