AOL? Like the merger never happened
New: Time Warner drops "AOL"
Launched: October 16, 2003
Story in brief:
It was actually Jonathan Miller, AOL's new CEO, who asked that AOL be dropped from the parent's name. The parent was now being called "AOL;" Miller had lost control of the brand he was charged with reviving. "It's really an effort to seize back our brand" said an America Online executive, and to distance AOL (if that's possible) from the disastrous merger.
Parsons (and his board) were happy to oblige, to "Just go back to the old name and pretend it was all a bad dream," as the New York Times editorialized.
CEOs - Richard Parsons (Time Warner) and Jonathan Miller of AOL
Logo design - Lippincott Mercer
The 2001 name decision (adding AOL) for purely technical reasons was doomed to fail If Law One in naming is distinctiveness, Law Two is brevity. People will not use a name longer than five syllables, and will always find a way to shorten it. At six syllables, AOL Time Warner would inevitably be "AOL," an outcome its designers (Landor) no doubt knew was unintended and divisive. But Landor had been retained to design, not to advise. This time, for design if not advice the client returned to Lippincott Mercer, who as Lippincott & Margulies had earlier put Time Warner between ruled lines.
I like the new logo (but then I'm a sucker for Bodoni). The one-word spacing strengthens the name, the deeper blue is also stronger, and the ruled lines (a stuffy post-modern touch) will not be missed.