Airbnb has relaunched, with a snazzy new logo and a new, modern, 'flat' design by London agency DesignStudio. For non-design buffs, that basically means a minimalist look with blocks of colour, instead of patterns or drop shadows. Think Apple's iOS 6.
It's also decided to change its logo to a sort of inverted, scribbly heart, which is supposed to looks like an upper-case 'A':
Interestingly, rather than taking the traditional approach of obsessively controlling how its logo is used, Airbnb has decided to hand it over to its users: 'The Airbnb experience is too diverse and distinctive to be represented by a traditional logo or a one-size-fits-all shape. So we're handing over the keys. We're giving creative control to the travelers and hosts who create Airbnb every day.'
It goes on:
'Sketch it. Paint it. Put a penguin on it. Make a symbol that reflects your Airbnb experience, and add it to your Airbnb profile. Make one for every trip or favourite place. Make one to mark your spare bedroo and another for the guest loft....'
Naturally, as is the internet's way, within a couple of hours of the relaunch someone did have a go at their own version - and created a Tumblr to demonstrate the results. Unfortunately, most are too shocking for MT's delicate disposition, but here's a taster:
Probably not the sort of thing Airbnb had planned...
It's easy to mock, but Airbnb isn't the first one to have a go at an 'open source' logo. When London agency Wolff Olins designed the much-maligned London 2012 logo, the idea was that people would be able to fill it with their own photographs, thereby customising London 2012 to their own experience. In the end, those in charge put the kybosh on it, and it ended up in the bright pink we all came to know and hate.
'With Airbnb, you can be at home wherever you go, from Alaska to Zanzibar,' says the company. Which sounds a bit hippy-dippy, if you ask us. But then it's arguable that that's largely the attitude of people who let strangers into their homes - so it may go down well after all, despite what the Tumblrs say...