Airbnb has always been a leader in design, which is why we're not surprised by the site redesign but are shocked by the lousy logo.
Airbnb, the vacation and short-term rental site that was arguably already one of the best-designed websites in travel today revealed a redesign of its website and mobile apps, as well as a new logo.
From a morning-show like set built in the original apartment where the service launched, Airbnb’s leaders used a streaming online broadcast to share the ideas behind the redesign to a select set of over 12,000 users.
CEO Brian Chesky spoke of the feelings, emotions, and mission behind the brand, with a special focus on the idea of “belonging.”
“A home is where you belong,” Chesky said. “At its core Airbnb is about belonging.”
“If we are to be understood as a brand — and more importantly as a community — we need to communicate this idea of ‘belonging’ to the world.”
To better communicate “belonging,” Chesky revealed a new logo and a new interactive site (Create.airbnb.com) where people could create their own version of the Airbnb logo, which they call the Belo.
Airbnb also updated its website and mobile apps to feature images more prominently and remove clutter, but the site architecture and user experience remains much the same.
In a promotional video (embedded below), Airbnb says “We imagine a world… Where you can belong anywhere. This needs its own symbol. One that can be drawn by anyone.”
Reaction to the logo on Twitter was mixed.
The Peachoid in Gaffney and the new AirBnB logo. Discuss. pic.twitter.com/7QV8uv6unE
— Dan_Rowinski (@Dan_Rowinski) July 16, 2014
Post: quick thoughts on new Airbnb identity, which abstracts ALL the private parts into one. http://t.co/qbZni3llPS pic.twitter.com/1OHrL5qLfD
— Khoi Vinh (@khoi) July 16, 2014
Airbnb came out with a new logo and everyone is slamming it http://t.co/b8iTN1ipep
— BI: Tech (@SAI) July 16, 2014
The rebranding and the webcast is part of Airbnb’s focus on promoting the service as a community of users with shared values, as opposed to a venture-backed company that has become wildly successful by allowing renters, owners, and investors to turn homes into short-term rental units.
After a flurry of lobbying activity this spring, Airbnb is focusing on marketing activities this summer as local and regional governments are out of session. In New York City, Airbnb announced last week that it is sponsoring the New York Marathon, and it has placed ads on city subways.
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Photo credit: Airbnb's new logo is meant to represent people, places, love, and Airbnb. Airbnb