Brief Atari Brand History

During the 70’s the world was changing …  

There was an oil crisis, U.S.A. was into recession, Japan grew as a major world power, people started talking about the environment.

Many consider these years a the “age of the individualism”. But this period is important for other people, too – the gamers. Video games were emerging. One of the most popular was the Atari console.

In 1972, Atari entered the market as the largest company producing arcade games. The most famous game was “Pong”  – a video game that was the first and actually the most profitable one for the company (probably in the history of gaming,too ). This was the beginning of a great revolution in this sector giving rise to a new niche industry.

pong 1972

Poster to promote the new Atari videogame Pong (1972)

Atari, Inc. was founded in 1972 in New York City, U.S.A. by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, as a pioneer in arcade games, video games and computers. The company’s products, such as Pong and Atari 2600, helped define the computer entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980.

atari logo

The designer George Opperman was responsible for the creation of the graphic identity of the brand, projecting the logo in 1972, know today as the Atari brand. It’s a stylized representation of the letter ‘A‘, but the statements of George in 1972, due to rapid rise of the game “Pong” to fame, says that “the two side pieces of the Atari symbol represent two opposing video game players, with the center line of the ‘Pong’ court in the middle.

[ logo draw

](/img/2011/12/atari002.jpg) Sketch of Atari’s logotype by George Opperman (1972)

During the period of 1972, when appears, till the mid of 1984, the brand was known as Atari Inc. and specialized in designing and building arcades. In 1977 came the first console known as Atari VCS (Video Computer System), giving a birth to a new generation of computer entertainment industry.

Atari VSC

An interesting details of the Atari VCS. Source by Burning Man

logos machine

For each kind of personal computer systems, Atari develop a logotype for each model. Source by Atari Museum

atari 400

An interesting details of the presentation of the logo on the Atari 400.

This machine , the Atari 8-bit computer line, was a commercial success – selling two million units through its major production run between late 1979 and mid-1985.


In 1984  the brand became known as Atari Corporation. It is also the begining of a new mentality to the company. They start developing the 16/32-bit computer systems. The Atari ST (“ST” stands for “sixteen / 32”, referring to the machines “16-bit bus and 32-bit core) is the first Personal Computer developed by the company, giving rise to a new era.

Atari ST

Atari Mega ST 4 (1980). Source by Spiritus Negator


Atari logos trough the years:

**  logo history **

Atari Education system

Logotype for the department of Atari research. Source by Atari Museum