Blog Post

AOL Reveals Lame New Look & Logo

AOL will launch a new look and logo along with its official spinout from Time Warner (s TWX) 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!

97 Responses to “AOL Reveals Lame New Look & Logo”

  1. sunshinegal2001

    AOL has more problems than a camel with fleas!!! It is the most unsatisfactory server I have ever used!! What’s the deal? They can’t fix problems and now you can’t contact them, try it on line!! Try calling!! Impossible, I’m dumping them ASAP

  2. What is going on with Wolff Olins? First the London 2012 Olympics logo, and now this? On one hand, the agency seems to have hit upon a trend in recommending these confusing permutable solutions. And then clients are lapping this stuff up.

  3. Sue 1138

    AOL is a company best known for making its users’ lives a living hell whenever anyone wanted to cancel their service. If they wanted to rebrand themselves, you’d think they would’ve gone with “Yeah, we f*ed up and learned our lesson.”

    But this is just weird. The lower-case font and period look sad and forlorn, as if AOL is making a frowny-face and wanting us to feel sorry for it, in an endearing and cutesy sort of way.

    This is just so full of fail I don’t know where to begin.

  4. Top-middle. Not rock. Not Satan. Not heavy metal or even hard blues. Not a charm against the evil-eye. And not the Texas Longhorns.

    It represents Moloch, a Canaan deity most often represented by a bull (at “the Grove” it is an owl, but that is for another reason).

    If you’ve ever wondered why our world leaders are so fond of making this hand gesture, consider beginning your search for answers with “Moloch.”

    And sorry for the bump. A year later, I was wondering when they were going to roll this out… perhaps the bull horns caused a problem?

  5. Ken Dandurand

    I am beginning to understand why AOL makes it almost impossible to reach them. Every so often, AOL makes a change. It may be as insignificant as the AOL Logo (which only shows their attempt to be modern) and of course the intelligencia of anyone that really likes it, or it may be the complete WELCOME screen, which whether you want it or not, WILL be changed. I have a few more months of membership due to my 2 year agreement, but when it is over, I shall show AOL what my logo is.

  6. Chancey M.

    I think it’s brilliant. AOL doesn’t need a logo–there’s nothing they could come up with that’s more recognizable than the letters themselves. All they’ve done is given themselves permission to embrace that, which I hope they do despite all the criticism.

  7. Time Warner spun off AOL, as a separate company and then listed it on the stock exchange. [I suspect they could not find a corporate buyer for the dog, so they figure some of the public will be foolish enough to buy pieces of it, in form of stock investment]

    TODAY is the FIRST DAY for trading of AOL (with that new, killer logo(s) coming soon) on the Stock Exchange.

    Query: Assuming (as I do) that the views and tone of postings here refelct the reality of AOL, who will want to buy AOL Stock? By the way, I use to live in NYC and got a deed to the Brooklyn Bride and can sell you some of that too, if you are inclined to buy AOL. I can’t think of any company (outside of the auto industry) that has been so tone-deaf, for so long and so consistently as AOL has been!


  8. Sarah D.M.

    This logo redesign is a colossal disaster. I look at the logos and feel completely deflated of all hope and joy. These logos look eerily like the comps I “designed” 10 years ago (before I had any formal experience in design) upon discovering photographic clip art of chickens, water droplets, and goldfish in Microsoft Word. Wait, is this from that same clipart folder???

  9. Interesting comments about AOhelL (another possible acronym that fits, as does changing it to LOL).

    Fact is, we should expect this kind of stupid decision making and choices from AOL. After all, when was the last time they made any changes at AOL that were well received by, or beneficial to, or based on feedback from, their customers? The company had a virtual monopoly on the package it offered (when you include chat rooms and IM’s) and yet they have run it in the ground and very few people have much respect for it; not even the customers who use AOL hold it in high regard.

    Some thought that when Time Warner took it over, it might be a boost for aol and that they might start taking customer satisfaction into consideration (in an effective manner, not just with lip service). Instead it has gotten progressively worse since Timer Warner took over. They scrapped pretty good profiles for absurd “BEBO” that most aol members hate. They have let the chat rooms go to hell with a “Community Action Team” to regulate it that has been one of the biggest jokes among its memebers (inconsistent and ineffective) and their upgraded (“new and improved”) versions of their AOL software has been poor with each new addition.

    Thus, it would have surprised me ONLY if they had actually done a commendable job with a new logo. Another good is just being consistent at a poorly run company.


  10. Nathan Explosion

    I don’t care for AOL, they can do whatever they want with there logo…But when they use the horns for something as un-metal as AOL, that makes me mad. TAKE BACK THE HORNS!

  11. I would actually like to see AOL survive and thrive, but unfortunately this tends to indicate the opposite is going to happen. Whoever approved this needs to be shown the exit door.

  12. Wolf Ollins made that horrible 2012 London Olympics logo too. I feel this design firm is more about creating controversial pieces that people talk about and link too while charging clients big dollars for logos many people detest on sight.

  13. Mark Jenkinson

    These are so bad, I suspect they are attempting to create a viral negative reaction, to generate buzz. They MUST know how awful these logos are, and are hoping that people will hate them so much, that they will pass them around, and get people talking. That’s all they really care about. BUZZ.

    Read the statement, “The new brand identity will be FULLY unveiled on December 10”. FULLY. They will probably reveal the real logo then and this will have just been another marketing stunt. NOW, if these prove to actually be a brand strategy…they will prove to be as stupid as they are currently being judged by the masses looking at this junk.

  14. You gotta be kidding me, right? Would those be the finalist selections for the new TV show, “So you Think You Can Photoshop Better Than A 5th Grader?” For a computer of such a financial ability this is laughable. It clearly seems like someone’s kid from upper management got on their computer and substituted these for the real logos

    These logos say nothing..except sad and beaten. It’s like a desperate final gasp at ‘getting it’. Well actually, AOL has never really ‘gotten it’ so they have remained fairly consistent. Come to think of it LOL would be such a vibrant new logo and name. Imagine the conversation and excitement with a new name like LOL. Everyone would already know it, the ad campaigns could put LOL into almost anything. WOW…but AHell is just too dumb to think along those lines.

    Rot in hell for killing Compuserve…LOL (See what I mean?)

    Want a new internet company, LOL, it’s that easy.

    Want a new streaming company, LOL, it’s that easy. Of course with your attendant laughing crowds, clowns, kids, etc. (you get the idea)

    Goodbye AOL, you sucked and are dying sucking even more. The last vestiges of your great empire are holding on for dear life just because of some lousy email address.

  15. The wost part is that if I show this to my dad he would probably like it.
    Which goes to show, who do you think is their target or the low hanging fruit?
    It definitely has no appeal to the youth or sub 35 crowd.

  16. Velvet Elvis

    That one logo looks like an alternate-universe Bill the Cat, while outwardly displaying what’s going on inside his brain during a cat-like acid trip.

    As Bill the Cat might say: “ACK! PFFFTHPT!”

  17. Nickelodeon did it better and it fit their brand appeal. This seems as rushed and ill-conceived as their 2012 London campaign. It breaks almost every rule of what good logo design is meant to do and if any art/design student had submitted this for their final they would probably fail.