Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
aims for visual consistency

| 25 comments

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio

News: London branding agency DesignStudio has created a new identity for home-rental website Airbnb, including a logo "that can be drawn by anyone".

Airbnb asked DesignStudio to overhaul its identity, website and mobile interface and create a consistent visual signature for the company, which was founded by design graduates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia in 2008.



"They'd never really sat down and said 'let's give this a look, let's think about how this works as a design language'," DesignStudio executive creative director James Greenfield told Dezeen.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb website homepage

Throughout the project, DesignStudio decamped to Airbnb's San Francisco headquarters for extended periods of time to learn more about the company and share ideas with employees.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb website screenshot

Members of the DesignStudio team also travelled around the world and stayed in Airbnb-listed accommodation to gain user perspectives from both listers and guests.

Airbnb-rebrand-by-DesignStudio_dezeen_468_5
Airbnb website listing page

Using the brand principle of "belong anywhere", the designers came up with a symbol - called the "Bélo" - which they thought would become easily recognised internationally.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb website screenshot

"The idea we finally settled on was creating a brand that anyone can draw, something that went beyond language and becomes a universal mark," said Greenfield.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb mobile site homepage

The symbol is designed to represent three things: a person with their arms above their head, a location marker, an upside-down heart – people, places and love – as well as resemble the letter A.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb logo variation

It is used with a simple font, chosen so that it could be more easily read by users who aren't used to reading Roman characters.

The logo can be customised by anyone using an online tool. The company hopes that listers will create their own versions to stick in windows, label possessions that guests can borrow and brand their properties.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb logo variation

Changes to the web interface have been made to create a simpler layout, which translates to the app for mobile devices for consistency.

When Dezeen spoke to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky earlier this year, he talked about how he and Gebbia built the home-stay booking website that is now bigger than most hotel chains.

Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio
Airbnb logo variation

British designer Ilse Crawford, who is working on a project with the company for this year's London Design Festival, told Dezeen that Airbnb is causing a sea-change in attitudes towards design by allowing people to experience stylish interiors first hand rather than via magazines and websites.

  • djnn24

    Meh.

  • Medians

    This is awful. It looks like a budget airline company now.

  • Andrew

    Mix this http://www.graphicthoughtfacility.com/habitat-identity-identity/ with any (now common) dynamic identities (AOL, Serpentine, Whitney Museum, etc) and you’ve got it.

  • Joe

    Looks a bit sexual.

    • olof

      All in the eye of the beholder

  • Jamie

    Not impressed with the Airbnb live stream event or their rebranding at all. By the end, it had become one big infomercial promoting merchandise and a harsh grab at free advertising.

    Congrats to Airbnb on getting a logo and overhauling the site, because they needed that, but if they wanted their customers to do more promoting for them, they really should have just been honest about it. (They also should have had someone design a better logo… the color is awful and the design has been labeled a “sexual Rorschach test” by Gizmodo.)

    Dressing it up as some big peace/love/unity thing and expecting the customer not to notice what they did, well, I guess they think we’re stupid. (Or their ad/marketing/design firms do.)

    If they wanted us to help promote the brand, they could have just asked. Most of us wouldn’t mind, as long as we’d previously had a great experience with them. However, pretending they’re doing more than that is a major turnoff.

  • leeloo

    Automation Anywhere wants their logo back.

  • Beatrice

    But it looks exactly like the Habitat logo!

    http://www.graphicthoughtfacility.com/habitat-identity-identity/

    • jo

      This is exactly what I thought!

    • Rabidé

      It doesn’t really look EXACTLY like it does it.

  • Tanuki

    Ouch!. that is a little close for comfort.

  • urbanizr

    Control+Z (back to the drafting table).

  • Nathan

    Automation Anywhere only launched their logo in March. Given the scope of Airbnb’s rebrand, it’s pretty safe to say the logo was signed off before then, so it’s really just an unfortunate coincidence. I doubt many of the people commented on the similarity had seen either logo before today.

    In any case, both companies have acknowledged the issue and will work together to get AA a rebrand.

    • leeloo

      When launching a new brand, it doesn’t really matter if it was intentional. Airbnb planned a big rebrand PR event and no one bothered to do enough research to prevent this or address it before the launch. That is a huge fail – not to mention their version of logo is being universally ridiculed just for its appearance.

      • Brian

        First, it is impossible to be aware of every single logo on the face of the planet. Stuff like this happens all the time. It does however mean whomever copyrighted it first should probably consider a do over.

        Second, “universally ridiculed” is quite a stretch. As usual, bored graphic designers across the internet have nothing better to do than spew hatred for a logo they didn’t design.

      • Nathan

        They probably *did* research it, but before the AA logo was launched. The case study says that it was a year long project, the bulk of which would have been on applications, the website, guidelines, and general rollout (all of which comes after the logo is finalised). Or should they keep checking every week “just in case”? It’s just an unfortunate coincidence, sh*t happens.

        • leeloo

          No one is saying they have to change the logo because of similarity. All they had to do was check for it prior to launch so that it could be addressed before it made them look bad during a huge press event. It’s pretty standard for the marketing department to handle that.

          Even with the agreement between the two companies, the situation now is that not only do many people have mixed and not so complimentary reactions about the logo, the story behind the mark’s meaning has less impact because it’s no longer seen as original. That is the failure I meant.

  • Vladi

    I always thought the Habitat logo deserved a ripoff:
    http://www.c-21.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/HabitatLogo.jpg

  • julie

    Just when the old logo finally got stuck in my head and I would recognize the brand just by looking at that blue or seeing a letter of that font…

  • Brian

    People ripoff other designs all the time. Time for all you designers to get over it. Go read “Steal Like An Artist” And this doesn’t really look like Habitat’s logo. And they certainly were not the first person to put a damn loop into their logo.

    Also, it is time for all the bored graphic designers across the globe to find something better to do than wait for the next logo re-design to bash.

  • dora

    They really didn’t do their homework. This is just one example besides Habitat. http://www.ruizcompany.com/project/8-inches and it’s definitely a better design.

  • Robbie Metherell

    Oh dear.

  • Brian

    Apparently they don’t know what “everyone” means, and neither do you.

    • leeloo

      Thank goodness I have you to explain it to me.