AOL Previews New Rebranded Ugliness

New AOL Logo

You knew it was coming. Or chances are you didn’t, because the likelihood of you using AOL and reading Geeks Are Sexy are kinda slim.

As Gigaom reports, and about fifteen people might have noticed, AOL is rebranding. Yes, another dinosaur of the early internet boom is going for a redesigned look, in a rather vain and, dare I say, slightly pathetic attempt to get hip.

Or something.

No, rebranding isn’t always bad. As much as design and advertising get under my skin, I can’t deny that—especially in our era of online economics—it’s important to get logos right. But at the same time, I also am aware of the crapload of money that goes into research when revamping a logo and, really AOL? This is the best you could come up with?

According to AOL’s official press release, they were going to for something really, uh, cutting edge:

The new AOL brand identity is a simple, confident logotype, revealed by ever-changing images.

I am in hearty agreement with Om Malik on the subject, who said in the review:

The minute I saw the logo (and its various interpretations), my first reaction was simple: lame. 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.”

It’s so lame it’s almost insulting. I mean, it’s hard to even read some of the logos, let alone “get” whatever it is they’re trying to say. Except…huh, you know what? Wait a second… AOL is like, totally throwing the devil horns there. I’m totally going to give it another chance! I mean, back when I had dialup, AOL was awesome. Right? These logos have totally changed my mind, just like AOL is ever-changing and…

So, yeah. In spite of the fact that AOL has, in fact, been making strides to cast off its terribly square reputation—as Malik points out—this rebranding effort really feels like backsliding. Between the squiggles, the smears, and the gelatinous masses, I’m really scratching my head here, folks.

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