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Redesigned: Airbnb’s New Logo and Its Parodies 

by . July 24th, 2014

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From pug noses to lewd poses, Airbnb’s new logo sure did it’s job of putting the company to everyone’s mind. The problem is, no one can certainly “unsee” the parodies after seeing the various iterations of the new logo.

A couple of days ago, Airbnb an online service that provides it’s users the ability to list their houses for rent online to weary backpackers looking for a place to stay recently unravel their new logo to the public. The new logo dubbed as the Bélo took over a year to complete was created by DesignStudio which is based in London. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky was so ecstatic with the new branding design that he was described bouncing up and down as he talks about their new logo at their headquarters in an article in Fast Company. In the same article, Chesky even mentioned that he wanted their users not only to use the branding but own it through customization.

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The old Airbnb Logo

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The new logo is a significant move to show that their company is growing and therefore changing the company’s expression. This opens up a lot of possibilities for the company and somewhat paving the way for user customization of a corporate identity.

At first glance the new Airbnb logo seems like an inverted heart or a stretched out paperclip that formed into a minimalist bird house that follows the shape of the letter “A”. Pundits have praised the company’s move for a new identity, Bloomberg Businessweek Editor, Belinda Links  even praised the new logo in an article saying:

The logo being released to the world on Wednesday works. It’s playful, unpretentious, and looks good in big and small scales, in digital and print formats, and as a three-dimensional object. Gebbia says the company did some “very serious semiotics work” to see how the logo plays across the cultures in every country except North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Cuba. The response was “resoundingly positive.”

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Source: DesignStudio

Unfortunately for the company as well as those who loved the design, the Internet somehow saw a different imagery of it. A few days after the release of the new design, dozens of people on social media jokingly pointed out that the new logo looks like the a mixture of body parts from breasts to a pair of balls as most users said.
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Others used their editing skills to show some harmless witty iterations such as a bear’s snout to a minimalist version of the Starfleet Insignia. Others found a way to make an explicit and lewd versions of the Airbnb’s new logo. In fact there is already a Tumblr website created to collect and curate all these iterations of Airbnb’s new logo. Be warned that some images are not safe for work but if you are into some juvenile fun we are pretty sure that you won’t be disappointed.

With the logo being parodied left and right, one Youtube comedian eventually made a song about the rather uncanny resemblance of the new logo to a pair of testes.  British comedian Brett Domino not only sings an a capella as to what the logo looks like but he also congratulates the company for their unintended marketing success since the company is now at the spotlight both of praise and ridicule.

One can say that it pays to look twice on your logo for other visual metaphors and profound symbolism, it is also best not to forget the shallow, suggestive and seemingly mundane imagery it could insinuate to the users in order to avoid future mockery. But then again, people will still associate your logo to various things whether lewd or not because after all it is just a matter of seeing what you want to see.

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Source: DesignStudio

Airbnb’s new logo is not the sole case of a logo being parodied because of it’s suggestiveness. Fortunately, the new logo seems to be faring quite well compared to other logos that has unintentionally suggestive imagery such as the Catholic Church Archdiocesan Youth Commission logo. On top of that the logo seems to hit it’s mark with regards to introducing the company to a broader audience who has zero knowledge about the brand.

Airbnb has not yet issued an official statement about the issue but in an article from the Daily Mail Airbnb CTO Nathan Blecharczyk gave a piece of his mind that might silence the critiques of the new logo design:

It’s just like: Go ahead, laugh all you want, guys. We wouldn’t want to design a logo that caters to the lowest common denominator.

Head over here if you want to learn more about the process of Airbnb’s new logo design. What do you guys think? Does the new Airbnb better than the old one? Did the new logo as well as it’s parodies helped you to know what Airbnb is? Share your thoughts at the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patrick Jude Ilagan is a graphic designer/photographer hailing from the vast jungles of urban Manila. Always on the look out for visually appealing stuff he scours the internet and the bustling city in search of inspiration. His tools for mass creation is a Canon 500D along with a wide array of lights and lenses plus a 4 year old (but still fighting) laptop. Check out his work on Tumblr.

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