AOL Spikes Monolithic Acronym, Becomes Aol.

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AOL has entered the first phase of a company-wide rebranding effort with the release of a new logo. The identity does away with two capital letters, further dissolving the link to “America OnLine,” for which the company’s three-letter name was once an acronym. Those two words, linked in consumers’ minds with the buzzing and pinging of dial-up modems, were officially scrapped in 2006.

The logo also picks up a period, which is meant to position AOL’s brand as a “pivot point,” said AOL chief of staff Maureen Sullivan.

“We felt the period helps open the conversation to a degree,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of creativity going on with our brand every day. There’s more happening here.”

The “Aol.” identity was created by branding agency Wolff Olins — a surprise since AOL recently anointed Leo Burnett USA to handle its relaunch. That assignment followed a lightning fast review process that began in July.

Sullivan told ClickZ that AOL will continue to work with Leo Burnett. She said Leo is now researching other aspects of the company’s new identity and positioning.

Of Wolff Olins she said, “They are the perfect people online to think about strategic thinking at this moment in time. They are the identity experts.” Olins has offices in New York, Dubai, and London.

In designs released Sunday, the identity appears against a variety of backdrops, including a goldfish, a green squiggle, and a blue swirl. In a video spot, the new logo design is projected against a backdrop of slow-motion action sequences and abstract pop imagery. That animation is embedded at right and can be viewed full-screen at on AOL’s site.

In a statement, CEO Tim Armstrong reiterated the AOL’s commitment to maintain the company’s original brand, even while tweaking it to become more reflective of the company’s full range of offerings.

“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,” he said.

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