New Airbnb logo: "someone didn't
do their homework"


Airbnb logo reactions and comparisons

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.

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.

Airbnb logo reactions

Spiekermann posted a composite image of the two logos together, writing "someone didn't do their homework".

Dezeen commenters were also quick to point out the similarity, calling it "a little too close for comfort".

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."

Commenters have also suggested that the logo resembles the symbol used by furniture brand Habitat, as well as various sexual organs.

Airbnb logo reactions

Twitter users were also quick to compare the shape of Bélo to male and female genitalia, or a combination of the two.

Airbnb logo manipulation
Airbnb logo manipulation by a Gizmodo commenter

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.

Design site Fastco said the symbol "looks like a bicycle seat combined with a Burn After Reading-style masturbation device".

Airbnb logo 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.

Airbnb logo reactions

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.

  • Gary

    Well I like it! And the logic behind it seems pretty sound.

  • Robin Hughes

    They all look sexual to me.

  • Robin Hughes

    They all look sexually similar to me.

  • Rob Yeo

    Isn’t it a bit much to ask a designer; before you start work on the new logo, check it’s not like any other logo in existence?

    • Brian

      No it’s not too much trouble. But I’m guessing you don’t understand how it works since it is literally impossible to see every frickin logo on the face of the earth. Plus, it isn’t a thing like the Habitat logo. And the Automation Anywhere logo was done at the same time.

      • Danny

        You could, but back in January, when the trademark application was submitted, you wouldn’t have found a similar logo because Automation Anywhere’s didn’t exist yet. This is public record. Took me three minutes to look up. “The trademark examining attorney has searched the Office’s database of registered and pending marks and has found no conflicting marks that would bar registration under Trademark Act Section 2(d). TMEP §704.02; see 15 U.S.C. §§1052(d).”

    • amsam

      The mere phrase “any other logo in existence” should have tipped you off as you typed it. Lots of logos out there.

      • olof

        Guys you are getting the initial comment wrong, he’s saying the same as you!

        • amsam

          Oh sorry, you’re right!

  • Kay

    Best story of the year so far. I can’t get enough of this. Not because of the hoo-ha, more about people’s obsession with digital branding and how they therefore perceive the product – amazing.

  • SCAQTony

    The more a company pays for a branding package, the worse the logo design gets. Too many opinions enter the conversation, which is then followed by compromise and total capitulation to client egos just so the design firm can get that final payment.

    I have seen better logos at a stock agency.

  • Maite Felices

    I always had to think about the M logo of Monocle when looking at the logo of Habitat. And the one of is totally sexual, so I understand Gizmodo.

  • jalapeño
  • henri.schiltz

    All I see is the AIDS red ribbon under a roof. I feel that this might not be the best holiday of my life.

  • Jerome

    Sick of this bitching on nearly every design blog. Who cares, the first logo Automation Anywhere logo has near to nothing brand presence where as Airbnb is innovative and memorable when it comes to a brand.

    It makes me want to travel and see all of these new destinations. The logo is dead anyway and the way a brand acts and behaves is very much alive, and Design Studio are one of the few guys who are paving the way for this. Well done guys.

  • I think this is the most beautiful rebranding of a company in the past decade. Airbnb went from an app to get cheap accommodations to people who want all of us to belong.

    The statement is simple. The concept is profound. Instead of travelling the world living in prepared, planned, compartmentalised experiences, you can naturally explore by finding a place to belong wherever you go.

    Companies like Airbnb, Duolingo, and Kickstarter have the potential to undo globalism, by allowing each of us to celebrate what makes each person unique.

    I love this.

  • Montague

    From Automation Anywhere’s Facebook page:

    “Earlier this year, both Airbnb and Automation Anywhere started using similar new logos. It was a total coincidence and when Airbnb rolled out their new logo to the world, we got a lot of questions.

    Here’s what we think: we love Airbnb’s new logo and what they’ve done with their redesigned site. We’ll be moving to a new, distinct logo soon, so stay tuned. We can’t wait to show you what’s next.”

    Food for thought.

  • Ingrid Oak

    Massive disaster. On the plus side, the consensus seems to be that they have discovered the universal symbol for genitalia.

  • SCAQTony

    We are visual animals – a logo is not dead. It is simply a shorthand method to remember all the content and the emotions of a brand.

    Airbnb’s “paper clip” logo contributes nothing as to how amazing they are, whereas the AT&T logo insinuates how global they are, the Apple logo insinuates how smart they are and the Starbucks logo resonates its fishing-town warmth and charm.

    Logos should resonate brand.

  • Giulio

    The designer maybe was inspired by a heart-shaped paper clip on his desk.

  • Jura

    Airbnb lost its identity after rebranding.

  • Jura

    Airbnb lost its identity after rebranding.

  • Cam

    Anyone seeing sexual overtones just has that kind of mind. No need to project your drive on the rest of us.

  • James Tarry

    I’ve never heard of Automation Anywhere, so does it bother me? Not one jot. It’s a logo. It could look like KFC’s for all I care. Does the website/company work? Yes, and that’s all that matters. Plus it’s a total stretch to say it looks like the Habitat one.

  • olof

    I see the similarity with Automation logo, but Habitat? Come on people, if that is considered copying then most logos worldwide are copies.

  • Marco Lammers

    It’s pretty nice actually. Good job.

  • alexk

    It also looks almost identical to that of Area Environments in Minneapolis.

  • Mag

    Check out n3twork’s logo.

  • Nicole

    I think it’s a fine logo. Most of the criticisms sound like they’re coming from children with dirty minds.

  • Alexander Knutagård

    I like it. I don’t see the people or places in it, but definitely the ‘heartish’ letter A. And if Automation Anywhere is okay with it, then why not?

  • Marcos Villalba

    Just saying…

  • Gustavocado

    Also just noticed that the Air BnB logo looks almost exactly like the new N3twork TV app:

  • Alex
  • Taylor Cowie

    Great article. I appreciate the info.

    Does anyone know where my business might get ahold of a template OH IT 941 document to edit?