Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Meet the New AOL Logo: “Aol.” (Plus the Press Release)

The new AOL will differ than the old one in several ways: New boss, smaller headcount, different owners.

So, of course, it also gets a new logo. This one will look awfully familiar, since it is the same trio of well-known letters, and if you’re not paying attention you won’t notice a thing.

But look closely:

AOL logos

See? Yup: Two lower-case letters and a period.

The idea is that the type will remain consistent, but will be “revealed” when it sits on top of different images. The old AOL swoosh triangle goes away, although its sort-of iconic “running man” will stick around in some form, the company said.

Here’s a canned quote from CEO Tim Armstrong about what this means:

“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.”

Branding outfit Wolff Olins gets credit (and money) for figuring this one out. But let’s see what investors think of the work when the company spins off from Time Warner (TWX) next month.

Here is the full press release:

AOL PREVIEWS NEW BRAND IDENTITY FOR ITS FUTURE AS AN INDEPENDENT CONTENT-DRIVEN COMPANY

New Aol. Brand Expresses Commitment to Stimulating Content, Openness and Inclusion

NEW YORK–November 22, 2009–AOL today previewed its new brand identity for its future as an independent company committed to creating the world’s most simple and stimulating content and online experiences.

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. The new brand identity will be fully unveiled on December 10, when AOL common stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

“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,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL.

AOL partnered with Wolff Olins, a global brand and innovation consultancy, to develop a brand identity that speaks to the company’s future. The identity itself is a platform for expression and creativity reflecting the content, products and services which AOL offers. Some of the world’s best creative artists, including Universal Everything, GHAVA and Dylan Griffin created art and animations for the brand.

“Historically brand identity has been monolithic and controlling, little more than stamping a company name on a product. AOL is a 21st century media company, with an ambitious vision for the future and new focus on creativity and expression, this required the new brand identity to be open and generous, to invite conversation and collaboration, and to feel credible, but also aspirational. We’re delighted to have worked so closely with the AOL leadership team to create something bold and exciting that sets AOL apart,” said Karl Heiselman, CEO of Wolff Olins.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google