Airbnb logo redesign: More people see hearts than naughty parts

Airbnb recently launched a massive site redesign, complete with a brand new listings page and company logo. The new logo immediately caused media uproar, as many thought the Bélo depicts something more scandalous than a “symbol of belonging” as explained by Airbnb. Online discussion was less about whether the logo has human anatomical associations, and more about narrowing in on the specific private part the logo depicts. Survata has helped many designers and company executives evaluate their logos (since sometimes your logo may inadvertently look like underwear). So, we were inclined to immediately collect data on the topic, and find out whether the public at large was able to keep their minds out of the gutter.

The day of Airbnb’s redesign unveiling, we displayed their logo to several hundred online respondents and asked a simple question:

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The data indicates that innocence is perhaps not entirely lost. While responses like “boobs,” “vagina,” and “butt” came in relatively high numbers, “paperclip” and “upside-down heart” were by far the more common answers. One takeaway from this study is one we already knew: Internet commentators can shade hypercritical (or at least enjoy perpetuating a joke that might not be as apparent to a neutral party). But another is that performing quick consumer research on a logo can be a timely way to clue you in on logo issues before they are trending on Twitter.

Here’s a visualization of how people answered the above question, and you can download the underlying data here.

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  • Ryan Aslett

    Try coloring the words in your word cloud such that all the offcolor wrods like “vagina, boobs, penis, butt, butthole, and breasts” are all colored one color and the other words are another. That would be a *much* clearer indication of whether or not a significant percentage of people found something risque in this design. As shown, your visualization is at best misleading.

    • survata

      Hi Ryan,
      That’s a good idea. We used a 3rd party plugin for the word cloud; I’m not sure if it has that capability. It would indeed make it easier to see the “risque” answers.

  • Greg

    It’s all in the way you phrase the question. I reckon plenty of people will have thought “mostly looks like an upside down heart, but there’s a penis resemblance there” yet your question won’t capture that sentiment.