The new Airbnb logo: Is it really human genitalia or are we just dirty?

July 21, 2014

Last week, the ever popular and growing online home rental service Airbnb unveiled a brand new corporate logo that immediately sparked a whole slew of criticism from all over the Internet. If you are a follower of what’s hot on Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, you likely didn’t miss it.

The new Airbnb is called Bélo. Bélo is "the universal symbol of belonging" where belonging is the key focus of their new logo and brand identity. James Greenfield, the executive creative director of the studio that produced the logo, said that they wanted to create “a brand that anyone can draw.”  Well… unfortunately for Greenfield, his whole idea has kind of backfired. Almost instantly, images started popping up all over the Internet where people had in fact taken James Greenfields advice to heart and drawn their own versions of the new Airbnb logo. Regrettably for Airbnb who was undoubtedly excited about and very pleased with their new logo, most of the new logo versions were sexual in nature. Although some of the comments on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr were more tasteful, the great majority of criticisms centered on the fact that the new Aribnb logo looked like human genitalia.

Inspiration for the new Airbnb logo

I think that it is a real shame for the logo designers as I am sure that hours, if not weeks and months, of sweat, blood and tears went into the creation of the new Aribnb logo. Personally, I don’t see the resemblance of the new Airbnb logo to human genitalia. People seem to be really stretching it in my opinion and it just goes to show you where most of our dirty minds lie anyways. For me, the real tragedy lies in the fact that the new Airbnb logo does in fact VERY closely resemble the logo for a software firm called Automation Anywhere. It is extremely difficult to create a new logo for a company and it is just unfortunate that these two logos look so similar. I sincerely doubt that one was copied from the other but I am surprised that no one at Airbnb or at the creative studio in charge of creating the new Airbnb logo did enough research to pick up on the fact that the Automation Anywhere logo existed and that they were so similar to their new logo design.

All in all, I think that all of this publicity is good for Airbnb. Haven’t we all heard the saying, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”? This new logo truly puts this saying to the test and in the end, I think that it will only be good for Airbnb as it helps to further put their name out there in today’s competitive online market.

What do you think? Do you agree with me or not? Have any versions of your own Airbnb logo that you would like to share?

Along with a new logo, Airbnb has also created ‘Create Airbnb’ because they wanted their new brand identity to be shared. They invite Airbnb users to take their existing logo and make it their own version that they can post on their own Airbnb profile. They encourage Airbnb users to create their own unique symbol that represents themselves and the experience that they are seeking or that they offer on Airbnb. Have fun with this interactive tool and try not to let your mind go to a dirty place while your playing :)

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