News: Airbnb has come under fire from designers for the similarity between its new logo and existing branding for other companies, while social media users have been quick to draw comparisons with human genitalia.
London-based DesignStudio has sparked controversy with its rebrand for home stay company Airbnb, with leading designers highlighting the close similarity between the new logo – called Bélo – and existing symbols used by other brands.
Related story: Airbnb rebrand by DesignStudio aims for visual consistency
Leading German designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann took to social network Twitter to point out the similarity between Bélo, which launched last night, and the logo for IT firm Automation Anywhere.
Spiekermann posted a composite image of the two logos together, writing "someone didn't do their homework".
Airbnb and Automation Anywhere released a joint statement acknowledging the issue, suggesting that Airbnb will not ditch its rebrand:
"In early 2014 both Airbnb and Automation Anywhere began use of new logos that, by coincidence, have similar designs. Airbnb and Automation Anywhere are working cooperatively to address this issue, and Automation Anywhere is in the process of transitioning to a new logo design that is not similar to the Airbnb logo."
Twitter users were also quick to compare the shape of Bélo to male and female genitalia, or a combination of the two.
Tech website Gizmodo called the logo a "Sexual Rorschach Test". "Is it balls? Is it a vagina? Is it balls in front of a vagina?" said its article, pointing out Twitter reactions.
Other comparisons on social media were made to the logos of delivery company FedEx, "except the hidden arrow is a penis", and rival travel accommodation site Couchsurfing.
More innocent observations included likeness to a paperclip and a bear's nose, which has spawned a "bearbnb" meme. A Twitter account for the logo and a Tumblr blog including numerous explicit variations have also been set up.
However, designer Yves Behar praised the rebrand, congratulating Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia and Brain Chesky on their "nice brand evolution".
Dezeen contacted Airbnb for further comment, but has not yet received a response.