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AOL Unveils New Logo, Top Designers Weigh In

AOL has a new logo -- or logos -- but not everybody is in love. The UK's Guardian asked a few top designers to critique the company's creation of a multi-image branding campaign, and the reviews were less than favorable.

"[The new logo] shows a plain text logo in front of changing pictures like a weird staring at you goldfish to a pink floating brain and a rock-star hand symbol," the Guardian says. "The new logo that replaces the running man symbolizes the ever-changing content. It was created by the brand consultancy Wolff Olins."

Here's a look:

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And the reviews:

Florian Schmitt of the London based design agency Hi-Res!: "I like the idea of changing and adaptive logos, but this is such a literal and clichéed attempt at it. I happen to know that they had very little time to finish this, but even so, this is poor. It's literally the first thing you would do as a moodboard and the first thing you would put in the trash as well."

Om Malik of technology site GigaOM: "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.'"

Duncan Riley of the news site inquisitr about the ever changing images: "...if you think that sounds like drugs at play, you're not the only one thinking that."

But the most damning quote of all came from Oliver Reichnestein, creative director of Tokyo based design agency Information Architects Inc.: "Radical identity changes usually suggest that there is something wrong with the company. Well, we all know what's wrong with AOL. Their original business (Internet access) is obsolete. Dropping all visual keys and forcing the logo to a negative appearance on random images surely is a drastic measure. If the goal of the redesign was to illustrate how the company is slowly vanishing from the fast changing digital surface of the planet, I'd say: Job well done."

Here is AOL's official press release:

NEW YORK --- 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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