After a cryptic announcement last week, today Airbnb officially revealed a new logo to a small crowd of dedicated Airbnb power users, but it didn't take long for the entire internet to weigh in on the new design.
"It's a symbol anyone can create, whether drawn on a mirror or etched in the sand," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said, Fast Company reports. Chesky added the company looked to famous logos around the world for inspiration, from the Olympic rings to the Batman symbol.
Twitter, however, thinks the new logo resembles a different shape.
Did no one check the new Airbnb logo for inadvertent sexual connotations?! pic.twitter.com/3giKk71R8f-; Khoi Vinh (@khoi) July 16, 2014
'Oh balls!' - Airbnb's Head of PR-; Darren McMahon (@DarrenMcMahon54) July 16, 2014
Airbnb anticipated people would have their own opinions of how the logo should look. The San Francisco-based startup is also promising to launch a tool that allows users to customize the A. Airbnb released four versions of the logo representing the Wold Cup semifinalists.
Most brands would send you a cease-and-desist letter if you tried to re-create their brand," Chesky says. "We wanted to do the opposite."
But the new logo from design firm DesignStudio is only part of a total rebrand. It's mainly about shifting focus from the company to the community, DesignStudio founder Paul Stafford said. When Stafford first began working with Airbnb, he was talking about the logo's representation of the company as opposed to its userbase.
"Brian shot me down immediately. He said, 'There's no difference between our employees and our community,' " Stafford told Business Insider.
To get a feel for both company culture and user experience, the DesignStudio staff moved into the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco as well as Airbnb locations across four continents.
"It's a big deal, a huge company with millions of users," Stafford said, adding that he's heard the logo looks like a lot of things, including an A+ symbol, running rivers and tracks, and of course sexual imagery. He said the sexual jokes don't bother him, as the same thing happened after the 2012 London Olympics logo was revealed, and event that the entire world watched.
"It doesn't worry me in the slightest. it's something I've seen before," Stafford said. "Eventually it will be identified with Airbnb. It represents the community and it's the symbol for belonging."