The staggering failures of the AOL identity project released last week continue to amaze me. Covered thoughtfully here, you can really take the time to savor the flavor of deceit and corporate ineptitude. I’m not really talking about AOL when I say that, either. No, it’s the paragon of bad design, Wolff Olins, who is again the culprit.
After the London Olympic logo fiasco, and to a lesser extent Wacom’s “thing,” one might begin to wonder how these people stay in business. I believe that their client list, for one, has so many giant names of industry listed on it that it blinds potential clients to the thievery they are about to experience. Second, it is entirely possible in this day and age, still, for a client to hire an agency without doing a proper Google search. But lastly, and what I believe to be the true representation of their power, they must have a highly motivated sales/account management staff who can sell shit like this with a straight face.
Either way, work like the AOL “identity” and the others, when coupled with the sneering, look-at-how-clever-we-are press releases and after-the-fact justifications make all designers look bad. I’d like to ask them to stop.
I’m short-winded today; as Mondays go, today’s been a little rough. Not the least of which for that damn new AOL, er, Aol. logo that the snakes at Wolff Olins cooked up (check the amazing write-up by friend-of-the-site Alyssa Walker over n Fast Company). “My company’s logo is confusingly-lowercased letters over stock photos!” is the cheer that I’m sure went up to the employees at AOL who didn’t just lose their jobs. Expect a more thorough examination of that situation later.
Also, I’m taking votes as to whether or not to do a comic this Friday. If a lot of you read this are working that day, then yes, but you’ve got to sound off in the comments. If you’re not working, cut me some slack and let me know, and I’ll cook up magic for you first thing Monday morning.
Smiles — nv–
We got word that David Barringer was coming through Omaha to judge the AIGA Nebraska Show, and jumped at the chance to talk with him. Well, I ended up being in LA at the time, so I had Steve Gordon step in for me on this one (which was a good decision, because the recording is a hoot).
Besides discussing his Bug Kit and new book, There’s Nothing Funny About Design (with a cover by Felix Sockwell), the discussion ranges from Emigre, Chuck, the difference between stealing and an homage, service vs. commodity, Shogun Warriors and other random topics.
Buried in the conversation is also great advice on getting freelance writing, design business models, clients and a mention of David Barringer’s article on top hats. Nate even does me the service of giving himself a wicked burn in my absence. Epic friend move.
As always, leave your comments below, and we’ll be back in two weeks.
Conrad’s mad goal of becoming the AIGA Director of Chairs (?!?) for fun and profit continues unabated this day. There’s a point there, which, when reading up on the AIGA page, throws the concept of being on that board into sharp relief. You are required to give or raise $10,000, and that does not include sponsorships. So, outside of asking your dad for some serious scratch or sending your kids door-to-door selling M&M’s for $1 ten-thousand times, I’m not sure what options you have for not just writing them a check for some cold, hard cash. This is a barrier for entry, no doubt, the responsibilities of which are surely not lost on the organization. It gets you an upper-crust of designer leader, or at least some scam-artists who are good at price-jacking clients (I have no information that the latter has ever occurred).
But to me, it sounds an awful lot like that WK12 “internship” that students and young designers go batshit for. It’s an internship, and it costs you unknown thousands of dollars. That’s if they accept you. Now, I’ve actually known two people from my town that have gone through that internship, and they are not doing poorly — not by a stretch — as a result. But still. Not the highest road.