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Summary:

AOL will launch a new look and logo along with its official spinout from Time Warner on Dec. 10, as it tries to become a content-centric company. Wolff Olins, a global brand and innovation consultancy, worked on this new look and logo which seeks to replace […]

AOL will launch a new look and logo along with its official spinout from Time Warner on Dec. 10, as it tries to become a content-centric company. Wolff Olins, a global brand and innovation consultancy, worked on this new look and logo which seeks to replace the older, more iconic AOL branding. The minute I saw the logo (and its various interpretations), my first reaction was simple: lame. It is ambiguous at best, and as sexy as the obese, shapeless humans living on Axiom, the flagship of the BnL fleet in Pixar movie “WALL-E.”

Why such a visceral reaction? Perhaps because I grew up with the old AOL (all caps) and am mad at change — a malady normally associated with aging. Jokes aside, the new logo fails to capture what is going to be a smaller, nimbler AOL, one that is represented by a collection of smaller, iconic brands such as Engadget and Joystiq. AOL should ask for its money back!

  1. Re-inventing the AOL brand is going to be their toughest challenge of all. Even still, the current wisdom is that “brands” are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

    But these logo images make no sense to me. I might have nightmares.

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    1. It is logos that become increasingly irrelevant. Brands, to the contrary, rise in importance. In our current economic model, we buy less and less the actual product value or service. Instead we invest into products based on trust and our experiences of reliability, reputation and sometimes a culture of a brand. You’d be surprised how much you buy based on your gut feeling about that brand.

      Changing a brand’s logo is not a simple task. It almost never finds positive recognition among consumers, but the impact of such a corporate redesign is not so big. In the end, it simply doesn’t matter. People buy a brand because of what it represents, not because of the logo representing the brand.

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      1. You Sir, are completely right.

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  2. Maybe with a W between A & OL it would better illustrate where the company is going

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    1. Oh that is funny…. very funny!

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      1. So funny. So true. So sad.

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      2. hadn’t previously come across this famous telegram highlighting the value of punctuation until recently: “Not getting any better. Come at once” ……..which somehow came out the other end as, “Not getting any. Better come at once.” Made me laugh!

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    2. wouldn’t it just be easier to change the A to an L?

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  3. what the what?

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  4. That cannot be real….looks like it took them 30 seconds to put those together

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    1. Or as someone said on twitter, the bill took longer to type out than that logo ;-)

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  5. AOL has been an irrelevant company for nearly a decade that has only survived through Time Warner’s life support. No brand update is going to fix that: AOL is toast before this time next year.

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  6. Ask for their money back, indeed! Whomever did these icons was a cultural idiot. At least one of them will be considered severely offensive in several cultures. As for the pink one, what is that, your brain on Aol? Or is that the one next to it, with your brain exploding if you use Aol? Of course the blue one, presumably the “logo” itself, bears a striking resemblance to the ancient symbol of the snake eating itself, which is ironically appropriate. And finally there is the little matter of switching case from AOL, which is clearly an acronym, to Aol, which is easily confused as an actual word, one that phonetically sounds like a part of the anatomy that would be found at the opposite end of the alimentary canal from the exploding brian.

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  7. Look, even the goldfish is frowning!

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  8. At least half are easy to understand:
    1. Dead in the water
    3. Down the drain
    6. Coming undone
    Not sure about 2, 4, and 5 though.

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    1. Nailed it… Haha.

      These logos are hideous – AOL should ask for its money back as any kid over 8 yrs old could have easily generated this crap. Looks like a last minute “oh crap we forgot to design AOL’s logo this week” mashup.

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  9. The period at the end of the name is totally yesterday. How can a design agency put that out in 4Q2009?!

    When Deloitte did it, it was fine. But now? Seriously?

    Gosh, why don’t they just rename it Aol Group and go totally out of fashion?

    I give Wolff props for keeping it real all these years, making people feel disgust with their designs (London 2012, anyone?)

    I just wish their customers weren’t all desperate and broken.

    .

    Embarrassing.

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