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The Circle 7 logo is an often-used television station logo in the United States. Designed in the early 1960s for the American Broadcasting Company's five owned-and-operated stations (all of which broadcast on VHF channel 7), the logo, or a version of it, is currently being used not only by ABC stations and affiliates, but also by a number of television broadcasters around the world.
The Circle 7 logo was created by G. Dean Smith, a San Francisco graphic designer, and was first used in 1962 by ABC as the logo for its (then) five owned-and-operated television stations: WABC-TV in New York City; KABC-TV in Los Angeles; WBKB (now WLS-TV) in Chicago; KGO-TV in San Francisco; and WXYZ-TV in Detroit. When ABC applied for television station licenses in the late 1940s, it was thought that the low-band channel frequencies (2 through 6) would be removed from use for television broadcasting, thus making these five stations broadcasting on VHF channel 7 the lowest on the television dial. American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, ABC's then-corporate parent, registered the Circle 7 logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1962.
When WABC-TV adopted the Eyewitness News format in 1968, all reporters and anchors were required to wear a blazer with a Circle 7 patch (a lapel pin in later years) when they appeared on the air – a marketing practice that spread to the other ABC O&Os, and eventually to other ABC affiliates. Stations commonly used the logo on microphone flags, newscaster clothing and design of sets, as well as on-air graphics for locally originated programming.
The logo's design consists of a circle outline, with the horizontal line and the bottom curve of the stylized numerical "7" placed within it connecting the circle. The Circle 7 logo was designed to be interchangeable with the circular ABC logo (as redesigned in 1962 by legendary graphic designer Paul Rand) in network and station imaging, although since the late 1990s, the ABC logo was incorporated into the logo design in different variations. It also was used as the name of the production company for locally produced programming by ABC owned-and-operated stations, Circle 7 Productions, which existed prior to ABC's 1985 takeover by Capital Cities Communications. Originally a proprietary logo for ABC's owned-and-operated stations, stations affiliated with the network began using the logo as early as the 1970s. WXYZ-TV retained the logo (and the ABC network affiliation) after ABC's sale of the station to the E. W. Scripps Company in 1986 (a result of the Capital Cities acquisition), although its version has gradually adopted a heavier font weight (Scripps then copied this version to former Capital Cities station WKBW-TV in Buffalo, which had long used its own versions of the "Circle 7" with a straight descender instead of a curve, after WKBW came under Scripps ownership in 2014).
The G. Dean Smith version is still exclusive to ABC owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, though not all ABC-affiliated stations broadcasting on channel 7 use a Circle 7 logo. Some stations affiliated with ABC or other networks use variants that differ from the original, often in the typeface of the 7 or the circle's design (for example, WHDH in Boston and WSVN in Miami, both owned by Sunbeam Television and respectively an independent station and an affiliate of Fox, use a design very similar to Smith's but with the "7" ridging (rather than connecting to) the circle outline and its bottom curve aligned slightly farther to the right).
ABC stations and affiliates not broadcasting on channel 7 also use variants of the Circle 7 logo; WEWS in Cleveland (a co-flagship station of Scripps) has long used a "Circle 5" logo, and network owned-and-operated (former Capital Cities) KTRK in Houston uses a "Circle 13" logo.
Media related to Circle 7 logo at Wikimedia Commons