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Airbnb wants you to think of belonging, not eviction, when you see its new logo

Caitlin McGarry | July 17, 2014
The company is trying to remake its image, literally, in the wake of legal scuffles in NYC and San Francisco.

airbnb

In an over-the-top, heartfelt unveiling that riffed on the themes of love, friendship, and home, Airbnb presented its redesigned apps, website, and logo. Say goodbye to the bubbly blue font of old and hello to Bélo.

Bélo is the name Airbnb has given its new logo, which looks sort of like an A but also like a host of other NSFW symbols. (Use your imagination.) The design combines elements of people, places, love, and Airbnb, but doesnt actually look like any of those things. The name Bélo stands for belonging, which is the core of the home-sharing companys mission, CEO Brian Chesky said during a broadcast from the first Airbnb living room. Chesky and his colleagues reminisced about starting the San Francisco-based company seven years ago in that very living room, which fit three airbeds.

The makeover extends beyond just the logo. Airbnb redesigned its website and iOS and Android apps to make them cleaner, simpler, and easier to use for hosts and guests. On the visual side, photo tours are now blown up to dominate your screen on both desktop and mobile. For hosts, the Dashboard is cleaned up, but the best new features (calendars, pricing, and others) have yet to come.

The feel-good campaign of the year
But the new brand, the Bélo, is clearly where Airbnb has devoted its energy. Chesky called the logo a universal symbol of belonging, and the company has even gone so far as to offer a Create tool for users to riff on the logo with new fonts, colors, and images. Hosts can use those unique logos on their listing pages and even order swag emblazoned with their creations.

Imagine walking down the street and someone has this symbol in their window, Chesky said during the invitation-only broadcast for super users. Imagine that this space is shared, and you belong there.

New Yorkers and San Franciscans should probably think twice before putting the Airbnb symbol in their windowshosts are still facing evictions over listing their homes on the site.

The community-oriented rebranding is part of Airbnbs feel-good ad campaign. First there were commercials telling hosts Airbnb stories, then the company plastered those same stories on posters around New York City subway stations. Now the redesigned website features a Community sectioncomplete with host stories!to help people feel better about staying in an Airbnb.

A few of the sites other new features are a useful Discover section, so you can find travel ideas you wouldnt have considered otherwise, and an option for hosts to offer neighborhood tips and maps on their listing.

This is where Airbnb should direct its attention. Logos are fine and all, but features keep people coming back.

 

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