Last week, Airbnb, the accommodation marketplace startup, announced a massive redesign of its entire brand with more emphasis on the website and mobile apps. The goal of the revamp is to make the site and its listings easier to navigate while simultaneously making those listings more appealing. As a part of the launch, Airbnb is introducing a new logo to replace the old, lower case cursive “a”. Ultimately, Airbnb hopes that the rebrand increases brand interaction and loyalty among consumers.
Airbnb connects travelers with hosts who offer up their apartment or homes as accommodations for a period of time, while often imparting local knowledge onto their guest. Think of it like couch-surfing 2.0.
Within the website and mobile upgrades, the company has universalized fonts, increased attention on photos, and added white space around content. The Discover feed, one of the more important pages for beginning a listing search, now takes in more information about a user’s location to populate relevant listings.
Listing pages also highlight important changes in the website’s design. Each page is headed with a large listing image, followed by a small photo of the host, ratings, relevant listing information summary and finally the full description of the listing. The booking widget also follows a user as they scroll through the listing to make the booking process easier.
While the redesign of the website and mobile apps are important within the update to the company, the logo and overall brand re-launch have been the major focus of media attention since the announcement. The new logo, called the “Bélo” internally for its representation of belonging, was created in collaboration with a UK-based design studio to better represent Airbnb’s position as a global hospitality brand. The general message behind this symbol is that of welcoming and comfort anywhere and everywhere, a major part of Airbnb’s company vision.
While the logo adeptly represents the company’s name in its capital “A” shape and the company’s purpose, with the recognizable location symbol inside, it looks eerily familiar. When it comes to these toned down, gesture-based logos, they can beautifully represent a company’s mission and goals. However, with any redesign, the final product can run the risk of looking like other companies’ logo. Since the rebrand, at least three other company logos have been found to closely match Airbnb’s.
Despite the controversy surrounding it, the redesign of the Airbnb logo coincides with an important trend. Companies are setting out to create logos that would disrupt and break away from the conventions of a highly competitive sector. Much like Airbnb, Virgin Mobile recently incorporated the infinity gesture into their brand’s logo to represent a major movement within Virgin towards an increase in consumer relations and consumer impact within the company. The logo represents the opportunity for consumers to weigh in on pretty much any move the company makes in terms of design, decisions, or consumer relations.
Both Airbnb and Virgin Mobile’s new logos, as well as others, demonstrate a big move in the connection between company and consumer. These companies are working to make their entire brand identity about what they do for their users and in turn what their users do for them. To this point, each has launched interactive logo platforms that allow consumers to literally create their own versions of the companies logos, encouraging brand loyalty and a sense that the brand belongs to everyone.
Will this strategy pay off for Airbnb and Virgin Mobile? Will gesture-based logos and consumers interacting with company logos through platforms become the next marketing trend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
[Sources: TechCrunch, Twitter, Creative Bloq, FastCo Design]