This week, Airbnb, a service that I use when I travel, unveiled a new brand mark. They say that the logo is a combination of a home, a heart and a location pin. They call the symbol “Bélo”, meaning “belonging”.
Others, it would seem, have pointed out that it is far from an original creation.
All kinds of talk on Twitter, plus apparently some admonishing that it would’ve been easier to start with a Google Images search to ask whether or not your new idea looked like an existing one.
Having gone through a branding exercise on behalf of one client and designing logos for several others, I understand the concern. Most people aren’t worried that their logo will be mistaken for another competitor in their space, but given the propensity and ease with which it is to bring a lawsuit nowadays, the extra added step of insuring that you’re not “aping” someone else’s design should be a fundamental step in the design process.
WHAT’S IN A LOGO OR BRAND MARK, ANYWAYS?
Some companies who have a long name, or whose colors, graphics or usage are iconic automatically evoke a connection. Some companies just look at it as a way to jazz up how they look to prospective clients. Think: “Hey, we had to have our name on the door anyways, we should probably just do something better than our name in Times New Roman and be done with it.”
Companies live to have their brands go viral, and they want there to be a positive connotation of what the brand is about.
Working with an agency or designer who takes the first and most important step of making sure that your new look won’t be confused with someone else’s existing look is a necessary item on the checklist.