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History of ITU’s Logo

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Origins, 1947 

ITU’s logo first appeared in 1947. Mr. Gerry Gross, the then Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, commissioned an emblem for the important International Telecommunication Conference (ITC) that was to take place in Atlantic City that year. The emblem – a globe with lightning flash – appeared on many documents during the conference.

Adoption, 1950s

After the 1947 conference, the emblem was gradually adopted by ITU as the official logo for the Union. By 1950, the globe and lightning flash – now with the ITU acronym – began to appear on a variety of ITU publications as well as on the letterhead of official correspondence. 
At first, the logo appeared only in French and English, but Spanish, Chinese and Russian versions were soon developed. An Arabic version was created in 1982 after Arabic was adopted as the sixth official language for the organization.

The logo was intended to symbolize the speed of communications, equal to that of lightening, and to illustrate the fact that ITU promotes the development of the world-wide network through its regulation, coordination, planning and standardization activities.



In the 1960s, ITU organized a series of conferences to deal with the rapidly expanding use of radio services. To highlight ITU’s key role in developing international cooperation and regulation in these areas, variations of the ITU logo appeared with symbols representing the specific radio services.
Other variations appeared on the cover of the Telecommunication Journal,
renamed ITU News in 1994.
In 1995, a special presentation of the logo appeared to mark the 130th anniversary of the Union. 

Formal recognition

During ITU’s Centenary celebrations in 1965, the logo was formally recognized when the ITU Administrative Council approved a recommendation to “[retain] the emblem that has been very widely used since 1947 and which enabled all Union documents to be identified very rapidly.”
In 1996, ITU obtained protection for the name, abbreviation, flag and emblem of the Union under the Paris Convention on Industrial Property administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Updating the logo, 2002

After more than 50 years of use in its original form, the ITU logo underwent a face lift in 2002. A more modern, classic typeface was adopted, with the full name of the organization added beside the globe to create a link between the acronym and the name itself. The symbol now usually appears only with the English acronym (ITU) while the full name of the organization can appear in any of the six official languages.
 The meaning of the logo was slightly updated as well and was explained as follows:

The globe represents the universality of ITU. The lines of the globe represent the telecommunication networks. The lightning bolt represents electricity, which makes it possible to transmit telecommunication signals.


ITU turns 150

In 2015, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of ITU, a special version of the logo was produced. The anniversary logo appeared in publications, on correspondence and other materials – including the facade of ITU’s headquarters – during the anniversary year.

The ITU logo today

In 2018, the ITU logo was updated once more. The monochrome logo employs the humanistic typeface Avenir, created by Swiss typeface designer Adrian Frutiger. This typeface was chosen as an homage to Switzerland, ITU’s host country since 1869.