The media conglomerate AOL was founded in 1985. However, Quantum Computer Services was a small company that launched the online platform Q-Link for Commodore computers. The project expanded, developed, and enjoyed success, so in 1989 it was given a more representative name – America Online. Over time, it was shortened to the acronym AOL, and the service itself has turned into a huge portal where you can find any content, from forums to games.
Meaning and History
Now the media corporation includes dozens of divisions representing different areas: interactive video, cable systems, publishing houses, networks, educational resources, and much more. All of them are united under the AOL brand, which differs from competitors by advanced features and a minimalistic logo.
1983 – 1985
In 1983, AOL’s distant predecessor, Control Video Corporation, appeared. This company worked for only two years and presented only one product – the GameLine portal. She was also remembered for her verbal trademark. It looked like a dark blue rectangle with two white captions: a large abbreviation “CVC” and a small phrase “Control Video Corporation.”
1985 – 1991
After CVC went bankrupt, Quantum Computer Services was created on its basis. The new organization’s logo was markedly different from the previous one: the designers removed the dark background and wrote the word “Quantum” in italic pixel font. Each letter has been underlined and colored in a different color.
1991 – 2004
In 1989, the firm changed its name to America Online. This influenced her visual identity, the centerpiece of which was a triangle with two semicircles inside. According to the legend, the original symbol was based on a drawing scribbled on a napkin. Company executives jumped at the idea and went to a design studio to turn the simple pattern into an America Online emblem.
The blue triangle symbolized the capital letter “A,” and the vortex looked like “O.” Below was the company’s full name, written in two lines. The first word was in a strict sans serif typeface- the second half of the text imitated handwriting.
2004 – 2006
When the company became mega-popular, its owners decided to change the logo. The opinions of numerous focus groups became the main reference point. As it turned out, people liked the triangle because they felt stability, and the whirlwind, on the contrary, was associated with danger and caused distrust.
Designers from branding studio Desgrippes Gobe removed the swirl and replaced it with a blue circle in a white ring. They also put a triangle at one of the corners to make it look like a big arrow. The pointer was pointed forward to the future, symbolizing America Online’s continuous movement and commitment to excellence. He defined a new brand positioning.
The company name shifted to the left and was written in streamlined sans serif block letters. The font matched well with the rounded sides of the triangle. The flowing lines showed openness and friendliness.
1996 – 2004
In 1996, a logo appeared with the abbreviation AOL and a swirl in a triangle. It was used intermittently over the next eight years.
2006 – 2009
When the company dropped its full name, it had to update the logo again. The 2004-2006 version was taken as a basis. The designers replaced America Online with the short AOL caption, keeping the font with rounded corners and the iconic geometric symbol.
2009 – present
The current brand logo is the result of painstaking work by Wolff Olins. He completely changed the identity of the media conglomerate to mark a new round in its history. The designer put a point on the triangle with a circle, literally. After the company’s name, this punctuation mark is depicted, which symbolizes completeness and confidence according to the author’s idea.
“AOL” no longer looks like an abbreviation because only the letter “A” remains in the capital. Thus, the company decided to show its independence from the old concept of America Online and create completely new branding. Critics praised the changes, as evidenced by the logo’s victory in the 2009 Brand New Awards.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Conspiracy theorists believed that AOL’s original triangle was like the other side of the Great Seal. They saw a secret meaning in this: it seemed to them that the media corporation was connected with the Illuminati society. To get rid of such associations, company executives turned the triangle on its side. So the “all-seeing eye” turned into an arrow – a symbol of forwarding movement.
In the latest version of the logo, geometric shapes have disappeared. They were replaced by the usual black dot, which should be interpreted as the fulcrum for all AOL products.
A non-standard sans serif font was used for the inscription. It is similar to Helvetica Bold, Futura Heavy, and Gill Sans Bold at the same time, but the differences are quite large when you look at the shape of the individual strokes. On the other hand, the color scheme is very simple: black letters on a white background.