It's the media equivalent of moving out of your parents' house, heading to the nearest tattoo and piercing parlor, and yelling FREEEEEEDOM!: AOL has unveiled the "new brand identity" for its post-Time Warner era, slated to begin December 10 when it begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange as a separate company. And there's nary a blue triangle in sight. Instead, there's a plain new text logo presented with various backdrops, from cartoon scribbles to a rock-star hand symbol to a totally adorable goldfish.
The company is currently offering just a preview, and says in a release that a full unveil will come on the spin-off date. Yay, secrets! I love secrets! But we, of course, have many hints: like the fact that CEO Tim Armstrong, who joined the company in March after a long stint as a high-profile Google sales executive, keeps talking up AOL's future as a powerhouse in digital content and publishing. The company's array of niche blogs, which were hatched when AOL purchased Weblogs way back in 2005, are now its centerpiece.
So the new mood? "It's one consistent logo with countless ways to reveal," the release explained. Ooh, sexy!
The release also included a soundbite from Karl Heiselman, CEO of Wolff Olins, which AOL enlisted to help with the transformation: "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."
Of course, it's not all sunny: The company is on the verge of significant layoffs, as well as the possible chucking of non-"content" properties like ICQ and MapQuest, as the spinoff date grows closer.
Whatever. Isn't that goldfish cute?