This week, Airbnb re-branded. Here is their old logo. The script is airy, bubbly, and cloud-like.
And here is their new logo that I’ve put in black and white:
At first glance, I think it looks like a paperclip or an upside-down heart.
Social media and bloggers however found something else in the symbol. Apparently thought it looked like, putting it delicately, “lady parts,” putting it bluntly, a vagina or boobs – which is interesting given its history of being used as a portable brothel.
Their CEO Brian Chesky called it “a universal symbol of belonging.” They have a page on their website talking about the story of the brand evolution to belonging anywhere. You can even create your own version of the symbol to represent you, calling it a “shared brand identity” (a concept which makes a trademark attorney and daughter of a logo cop squirm).
I asked some heavily traveled friends who use the service what they think about the rebrand, and I think they hit it on the head: it’s ambiguous. For many unfamiliar with the service, it makes their offering even more unclear. I don’t want to feel like I belong in someone’s home (that’s borderline creepy), or that I have homes in different area codes. I want to crash in a sweet pad for a few days. And I probably do want to know which available rooms to rent are more “home is where the heart is” and less Heidi Fleiss.
So here’s your Friday Rorschach test – what do you think the logo looks like? (my favorite answer thus far: nun’s habit with hands up in prayer)