Members of WLS-TV's Eyewitness News team wearing blazers adorned with a Circle 7 patch, c. 1972.
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 Companies, Inc., ABC's corporate parent, registered the Circle 7 logo with the US 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 after ABC's sale of the station to the E. W. Scripps Company in 1986, although its version has gradually adopted a heavier font weight (Scripps then copied this version to former Capital Cities station WKBW-TV, 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 affiliated with NBC and 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).
Stations that currently use the Circle 7 logo or a variant
In Peru, RTP (now TV Perú) adopted this logo in 1989 and used it until 1991.
In the Philippines, GMA (also known as DZBB-TV) used the logo from 1961 until 1974 when it was dropped due to Marcos' martial law and the handover to new owners. The logo stayed until the latter part of the decade.
In Indonesia, TV7 used the Circle 7 logo from its launch in November 2001 until it was replaced by Trans7 in December 2006.
In Brazil, Rede Record adopted the logo in 1965 and used it until 1976.