Airbnb’s New Logo… Overthinking Simplicity

I don't like Airbnb's new logo. I find it to be disproportionate and unbalanced, and I don't think it pairs well with the type treatment. But the real problem is that it looks like genitalia or even a butt, as this article and Twitter points out. No, it is not explicit, but it is suggestive enough that most people seem to be raising an eyebrow. I, personally, have worked on designs in which I flipped a heart upside down in a similar fashion to this logo, and I did not go with that direction because I recognized that it was suggestive. A brand as big as Airbnb should never have released this logo, period. Good design clearly communicates what the designer intends it to, and something tells me the Airbnb is not trying to communicate something phallic through it's brand.

I understand the thinking behind the new logo, or, as Airbnb refers to it, the "Bélo." I think this is a classic case of overthinking something that should have been simple. Way too much thought went into this logo because they are trying to do too much with it. Airbnb's brand is an experience. A logo does not have to visually communicate a brand's experience because it will inherently communicate it by association with the brand. For example, Apple's logo communicates almost nothing about the experience Apple offers, but everyone knows what it stands for because of it's association with the brand.

Sometimes designers get caught up in their little design bubble and only see what they want to. There should have been more external influences on the new Airbnb logo before it was released. I guarantee Airbnb would not have released this version of the logo had they gotten proper feedback.

I find the video introducing the "Bélo" to be overly touchy–feely and emotional. It's like ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It feels as if the creators are doing everything they can to make the content this emotional sob-fest. It makes me sick. Just the fact that Airbnb felt the need to name their logo the "Bélo" is so pretentious.

Also, the Create Airbnb site on mobile is atrocious. The legibility of the text over the background images is poor. The flow of information is confusing. There are so many different layout elements that nothing is cohesive. And it's not much better on larger screens, either.

To summarize, the new Airbnb logo in on par with the 2012 London Olympics logo when it comes to bad design. Case and point.