Today in a press release AOL announced that they have a new logo. A logo that they will be revealing in full on the date of their impending separation from parent company Time Warner. The new identity, designed by Wolff Olins, replaces the iconic Triangle, with a series of letters. “Aol.”
According to Sam Wilson of Wolf Olins, “The period in the logo was added to suggest “confidence, completeness,” Ms. Wilson said, by declaring that “AOL is the place to go for the best content online, period. The dot is the pivot point for what comes after AOL,” whether it is e-mail, Web sites or coming offerings that will “surprise people.”
I say maybe, but I doubt people will really pay that much attention, and or get it. In reality this isn’t really a logo, since there is no anchor image to associate with the letter scheme. To me this reads like a word mark that they are slapping on top of a bunch of stock images. I wonder if they are trying to do what Google has done so successfully with the Google logo, allowing it to be updated to reflect seasonal events, or expanded upon for Google’s various services. Where Aol. misses the mark though, is the fact that a “Goldfish, or a “Rock Out hand”, or a “scribble” etc. have nothing to do with what Aol. is, and there is no connection between the disparate elements used to “Reveal” the word mark. I’m curious how the agency sold them on the idea that this would be A. memorable, and B. brand building. Isn’t the primary point of a logo to be something that is easily recognized, memorable, and establishes your brand? This thing is worse than Wal-Mart’s forgettable new Asterisk logo, and Radio Shack renaming itself simply the Shack. Although The Shack is much more memorable and brand oriented than Aol. slapped on a stock image of a goldfish.
According to the press release from Aol. “The new AOL brand identity is a simple, confident logotype, revealed by ever-changing images. It’s one consistent logo with countless ways to reveal.” “Our new identity is uniquely dynamic. Our business is focused on creating world-class experiences for consumers and AOL is centered on creative and talented people – employees, partners, and advertisers. We have a clear strategy that we are passionate about and we plan on standing behind the AOL brand as we take the company into the next decade,”
I’m calling Bullshit on the first sentence, and if they think the new identity is uniquely dynamic, I want some of what ever it is Wolf Olins got them to smoke. I wonder what Aol. paid for this? Maybe it is this bad because Aol. is in such financial trouble they couldn’t pay for a real logo and identity. I mean they are getting ready to ask 2500 people to lay themselves off this month. None the less the new identity and logo feels like a cop-out. Oh and one more thing. Who is the graphic designer that created the wave image? Did you do it with Windows paint, because that is the worst job of knocking out a background I have ever seen. In Photoshop it’s called “Magic Wand”, not “Tragic Wand”.