Airbnb’s new logo prompts claims of theft

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Observers have noticed similarities between the travel-rental company’s new ‘Belo’ logo and other companies’ marks. If your brand is working on a new logo, take note.

By Matt Wilson | Posted: July 18, 2014
Airbnb is all about shared spaces. People list properties—often rooms in their own homes—for people to rent as travel accommodations.

According to some critics, the company may have taken the idea of sharing too far with its new logo, which Airbnb is calling the “Belo.” PR professionals, designers, and marketers, take note. If your brand unveils a logo that even looks a little like someone else’s—and Airbnb’s looks a lot like some of these—people will call you out:

London-based DesignStudio created the Airbnb Belo, and according to Fast Company, “the designers claim to have studied everything from the logos of the Red Cross, the Olympic Games, and even the Bat symbol.”

Fast Company reporter John Browlee wrote that they didn’t go far enough: “Too bad they stopped there, when a Google Image Search would have turned up so many existing logos that the Airbnb Belo is inadvertently aping.”

Airbnb and Automation Anywhere, the company whose logo looks the most like the Belo, issued this joint statement to VentureBeat Wednesday:

In early 2014 both Airbnb and Automation Anywhere began use of new logos that, by coincidence, have similar designs. Airbnb and Automation Anywhere are working cooperatively to address this issue, and Automation Anywhere is in the process of transitioning to a new logo design that is not similar to the Airbnb logo.

It looks like the Belo is here to stay, but it also seems that there are going to be people who forever feel like Airbnb copied its logo from other brands. If the brand you work for is in the process of unveiling a new logo, ensuring it doesn’t look like anyone else’s—as difficult as that may be—could spare everyone, including your PR team, from some headaches. 

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