97 thoughts on “AOL Reveals Lame New Look & Logo”

  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.

    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.

      1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.



  6. No no you got this wrong.

    This is actually very clever, let me explain:
    They figured:
    Hey, you know. everybody hates AOL, right?
    Lets make our new Logo so generic and unrecognisable that nobody in their right mind will associate this with us. Then the customers will think: “Oh this cant be THAT AOL. Lets buy stuff from Aol.”

  7. What do AOL, Time Warner and Comcast all have in common? They are convinced they can force the consumer to use their products and services the way they want the consumers to use them; without regards to reality. Pathetic, sad and very dinosaur – ish of them.

    Of course when you consider that they continue to deny their subscribers un-throttled, un-restricted, un-bandwidth shaped fiber access to the Internet, is it really a surprise to anyone? Heck they are mis-guidely fighting net neutrality. Are they honestly ignorant?

    My guess is by the time they realize their customer no-service poor business mistakes, they will not be able to buy their customers back! Their customers have been theirs to lose over the last 20 years, and they are successfully pissing all of them, except for the most fanatic fanbois, off royally.

    Very short sighted of them pissing off so many for so little. Guess they think we are not paying attention, wrong.

    They sure do not act like their customer’s trust matters…go figure. With this in mind I vote for the third one on the top line, so they flush their profits and their customers down the toilet together. They probably should have two of those, with the swish in opposite directions…one for each hemisphere!

  8. Amateurish, incompetent, sophomoric, boring – all qualities I have noted, now, about Wolff Olins – the firm that produced this valueless result.

    Someone worth remembering – and never recommending.

  9. I’ll have to throw down for the designers, this feels like a company-forced design to me. I would be willing to bet that the designers came back with several decent options and then AOL’s junior marketing team hacked them to death before presenting to anyone with real authority to make changes, who then spread them around the whole company allowing anyone and the janitor to make design decisions. I mean c’mon, 6 different equally lame options? That says there were mobs of people in the room who lured this thing down an alley and strangled it 6 times to please all parties involved. Don’t blame the design firm for AOLs dinosaur marketing team.

  10. It’s lame if I had to look at all those designs and couldn’t figure out what the logo was. “Aol.” in boring font? Really? Uber lame.

  11. Stupid. They should have just grabbed an OWL, stuck “aol” on it, and said, “we’re still LOLhooting” or something trendy. Instead, they get 4th grader “look what I did on my (pirated) Photoshop mom!”

    Maybe I need to get a contract with those boneheads. I’ll “do their website” for $3,000,000. With WordPress. 🙂

  12. So, a 1 day subscription to clipart.com, drop text randomly on top and I can be a logo designer?

    I never knew it could be so easy.

  13. They forgot the cow patty.

    Hey AOL, did you cancel my account yet? Just cancel the account.


  14. 1. Sleeping with the fishes.
    2. Satan
    3. Maelstrom
    4. Deadly fungus
    5. LSD usage
    6. Squiggly line that the “customer service” rep doodles while you beg for your account to be cancelled.

  15. Agreed Om. And I posted so today. This is another example of tactics before brand strategy. AOL has a product strategy, just not a brand strategy. Pass the logo please.

  16. 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.

  17. I don’t hate it, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to use it consistently, even in these examples, the proportion of type to object changes, and some of the objects don’t seem to fit in the series. I like flexible branding, but it’s gotta stay consistent, this is going to end badly.

  18. they’ve already achieved what every “good, standard, contemporary or trendy” logo could not do: spark discussion. And I looked at these all day and I finally came to the conclusion of actually liking it after thinknikg “WTF” at first.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!”

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.


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  29. 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???

  30. 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!


  31. 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.

  32. unbelivable! i hate the logo so much. it looks like a 6 year old made that. what does the period mean. I WANT THE OLD LOGO BACK!

  33. 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.

  34. I cant stand your new look besides that I cant find any thing at all why the change i think about closing my accuont with aol

  35. 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?

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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

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