Perhaps they could have done a better job launching their potentially “suggestive” logo without the flesh-like color, but that’s about all I have to complain about.
Looking beyond the obvious attempts to make the logo look like a pair of balls or a vagina, I think the design of AirBnb’s new logo is a good representation and ambassador to the brand. It certainly brings more character and thought to a growing brand than a special font type with some extra treatment.
A side-by-side comparison of AirBnb’s new and old brand mark.
Their new brand mark tells a wonderful story and presents aspirations for their growing company (however “self-important” people might think that is). Bélo, as their new logo is so aptly named*, ties all of their core beliefs together and makes a considerable attempt to create a recognizable symbol to all their users around the world. It is effortlessly inclusive and wonderfully delightful.
There are careful considerations that DesignStudio made in collaboration with AirBnb that many of us (even trained brand designers) may never fully know. However, and in my humble opinion, I do think that it accomplishes three main goals that it (and any global brand should) set out for.
Bélo accomplishes a few critical components:
1 . Distinctive
The mark is incredibly distinctive. Whether you think it’s genitalia (everyone has their interpretation of which, take your pick), another company’s logo, or an assortment of cartoon characters (from Peter Griffin’s butt-chin to ET’s head), it stands out.
With time, the logo will hold significance to AirBnb and become synonymous to their amazing service.
2 . Reproducible
Just look at it. It’s a single stroke with a simple loop. As a matter of fact, the Tumblr account “AirBnb Logos” is a testament to how easily reproducible this mark is.
Make it whatever you want, I still see it. I know what it is and if I can draw it that easily, it makes it that much simpler to spread. If the goal is to take their brand down a notch by repurposing it as a pair of balls, you’re doing the opposite. You’re building more brand recognition every time you draw it.
3 . Approachable, Inclusive, Whimsical
Since it’s inception, I think AirBnb embraced whimsy, fun, creativity, and acceptance. An article from Fast Company not too long ago described the whimsical nature of their new facilities in San Francisco. Having been there, I can attest to that.
A look inside AirBnb’s SF facilities. 115 drawings line the wall, representing experiences had by Airbnb employees.
But the whimsy is not misplaced or over the top — it represents their brand. When you travel, you want to immerse yourself in a culture and have fun. That’s the kind of characteristic AirBnb’s office, mission, and Bélo possess.
AirBnb has nothing to prove to you with their logo. It has to represent what they believe their company represents — and I think it does just that. AirBnb is still the best and friendliest service I’ve used to travel, stay, and intimately learn about a foreign culture. Let’s spend less time criticizing their new mark and cheering on their amazing service.
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P.S. I’ve always been a fan of Brand New: Under Consideration for critique on new brand designs. Bélo fairs quite nicely: “All Your Bed Are Belong To Us.”
*As a side and perhaps coincidental note, Bélo certainly pays homage to AirBnb’s original logo. The old logo, made with a single font type, is named Bello. Intentional? Perhaps. Cool? Yes!