Update July 16: Airbnb’s redesign is now live.
Airbnb will launch a brand redesign this week during an event for top hosts and guests, photographs that VentureBeat obtained reveal.
At least a portion of the announcement is for Airbnb’s new identity, which the company describes as being a “multi-state moving identity,” a “3D modular symbol,” and “adaptive to environments.”
The graphic below shows Airbnb cofounder and chief product officer Joe Gebbia overlooking the new designs. And no, we didn’t make it pink.
The photographs show numerous design variations, all of which forgo Airbnb’s famous Web 2.0 bubble logo for a significantly more modern, modular design with emphasis on the Airbnb “A.”
Reached by VentureBeat, an Airbnb spokesperson told us it’s “inviting top hosts and guests to hear about what we’ve been working on” and refused to comment any further.
The graphics above hint that Airbnb also has something else beyond a rebrand in the works. An accompanying site or app redesign would certainly complement the new identity, although this is pure speculation.
A new product?
Airbnb’s under-the-radar pilot programs reveal its plans to expand far beyond the business of short-stay apartment rentals. Yet, it remains unclear if Airbnb will launch a new product Wednesday.
In an interview with Airbnb product director Joe Zadeh in May, Zadeh told VentureBeat the startup’s end goal: to “design every part” of the trip experience. “When we started, Airbnb was about the accommodation,” said Zadeh. “Now we think of Airbnb as the entire trip.”
“A couple of years ago — like three years ago,” said Zadeh, “we sat around and asked ‘what’s next?’ We had this moment, and we thought about car-sharing. We have this platform that can power the sharing economy, is that what we should do next?” But, Zadeh told us that “[Airbnb] realized that wasn’t the right focus area for us. We thought it would be better to think about problems like airport pickup. [We offer tools like] the mobile app where you have the cached itinerary if you don’t have data … that’s just the very tip of the iceberg.”
Airbnb’s experiments with classes, tours, food, and more are well-known. In May, we detailed Airbnb’s experiments with tours and how the company is exploring ways to allow its “hosts” to market services to guests via the Airbnb app. Airbnb is also piloting a plan to turn homes into temporary restaurants in San Francisco. These experiments were made available in plain view on Airbnb.com months ago.
However, Airbnb’s mystery event will not focus on experiences, sources close to the company tell us.
The only other public Airbnb pilot project left for this speculative launch is an intriguing one: a concierge feature that connects guests with “local companions” when they arrive in a new city. This Local Companion program, first highlighted in May, provides guests with everything from free restaurant recommendations to courier services, rivaling the offerings of services like Uber’s UberRush.
Local Companion offers us a hint at Airbnb’s next steps, but it remains unconfirmed if Airbnb will launch the service at its event next week.
The company’s promotional text for the event certainly builds suspense:
What started as a way for a few friends to pay the rent has transformed into something bigger than we ever imagined. Airbnb is now a community of millions of people from nearly every country on earth. We invite you to come back to where it all began so we can show you where we’re heading next—together.
The photographs below detail the design process behind Airbnb’s new identity.