AOL has a new brand identity, the former ISP and now downtrodden Web services and multimedia portal announced Sunday on its corporate blog. On December 10, the independent company will strike out on its own, the new look will be fully unveiled, and AOL common stock will being trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company announcement describes its future as "an independent company committed to creating the world’s most simple and stimulating content and online experiences." Part of that content is a new brand spelling, an updated ethos, and a panoply of re-wrought logos, visible at the corporate news site. The strategy was brought about through a partnership with Wolff Olins, a global brand and innovation consultancy who have done branding work since 1965 for such clients as General Electric, New Museum and Starbucks.
As noted in the press release, AOL's identity is re-aligning itself with a platform for "expression and creativity reflecting the content, products and services which AOL offers," says Karl Heiselman, CEO of Wolff Olins. The team is emphasizing conversation, collaboration, and credibility as brand identifiers.
It is difficult to see where any of these adjectives fit into a business plan that emerged after Time Warner ended their relationship with AOL, which caused a dramatic restructuring of the company. About one-third of employees were slated to be cut from the workforce of 6,900 people. This move will save on operation costs of $300 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But the logos seem to embody the desire to make AOL into a more flexible brand. The new "Aol." will be superimposed upon a number of colorful images, including a purple gaseous blob, a lime green scribble, a hand in the "\m/" configuration, and others. This variety supposedly signifies AOL's viability in the 21st century.
Some companies can do that with just one logo.