AOL Previews New Brand Identity and Trims Workforce!

AOL (America Online) is scheduled to break free from the ties that bind. Next month, AOL will launch a new look and logo along with its official spinout from Time Warner on Dec. 10, as it tries to become a content-centric company. You can view their “new branding” at the end of this article.

I actually have a special spot in my heart for AOL having been one of their charter subscribers way-back-when. I still have the original “upgrade package” I received when AOL replaced Apple-Link as my dial-up online service provider. Now AOL is back in the news.

With AOL scheduled to be reincarnated as a single entity in two weeks, the company will debut with at least one constant — layoffs. AOL, still part of Time Warner, previewed its new brand identity Monday and stepped up its campaign to reduce its workforce.

The company is offering buyouts to about 2,500 members of its workforce as it seeks to trim its employee headcount by nearly a third over the next few months. The once high-flying company and its instantly recognizable online greeting — “You’ve Got Mail” — still has several vibrant features and the company believes it will be in a better position to exploit them as a standalone operation.

The company’s new brand identity is scheduled to be fully unveiled on Dec. 10, one day after it formally becomes an independent company “committed to creating the world’s most simple and stimulating content and online experiences.”

Much like myself, millions of Americans cut their eye teeth on AOL’s dialup and e-mail service, but after it merged with Time Warner in 2000 at the height of the tech bubble and in a multibillion dollar transaction — said to be the largest merger in U.S. history — the company began losing traction almost immediately. Even AOL’s former chairman Steve Case called for AOL to be split off from Time Warner after it became evident the merger was a failure. Since Jan. 10, 2000, the day the merger was announced, Time Warner stock has slipped from $184 a share to $42.

AOL’s chief executive Tim Armstrong announced the latest round of layoffs last week. AOL is now headquartered in New York, but maintains a major operation in northern Virginia in suburban Washington D.C.

A former advertising chief at Google, Armstrong has led a series of pep talk sessions at AOL in recent months and has said he will decline a bonus this year.

Wolff Olins, a global brand and innovation consultancy, worked on the new look and logos which seeks to replace the older, more iconic AOL branding. Take a look below or take a minute to watch this animation:

Now for their new branding – the images below are what I’ve been able to find on the internet and in my opinion (I’m not alone on this either) AOL should have used a different brand consultant. What do you think?


I’ll be interested to see where AOL is a year after this split from Time Warner. Will they still be around? Time will tell.

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