Bélo from Airbnb

Here’s the new Airbnb logo. They call it “the Bélo.”

Airbnb Bélo

Apparently no one checked for inadvertent sexual connotations. The mark looks like an abstraction of ALL the private parts.

I can’t pretend to know what went into designing the Bélo, but the end result is surprisingly tone deaf. This seems like a case of a still young startup that wants to assign meaning to its stratospherically successful brand so badly that it has quickly gotten in over its head. The story that Airbnb tells in order to contextualize its new identity seems similarly hamfisted and overly self-important to the point of satire. Airbnb is successfully disrupting the tremendous and staid lodging industry, but it’s hard to imagine this particular combination of pomposity and message mismanagement from say Holiday Inn.