airbnb logo
Abstraction has its price.

This article contains sexually explicit material that may be NSFW.   

Startups should probably be aware that any fanfare around a new logo can have unintended consequences: In Airbnb’s case, these would include observers crying copyright infringement

Whatever the provenance of Airbnb’s design, though, we can agree on one thing: It’s weird. Some might even argue there’s a Rorschach effect. Do you see a heart, or maybe genitals?

The doodle-like shape is certainly versatile, as evidenced by a new Tumblr account that quickly began to compile the best remixes, most of which are fairly vulgar and probably NSFW.  


Even so, there are some G-rated gems:


But if we had to pick one effort that most accurately conveyed the appeal of this room-sharing, hotel-disrupting, controversy-sparking business, it would obviously be this:


If only all branding were this honest.

Photo via @Airbnb/Twitter

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New York City has a lot going for it, but affordability isn’t one of them. It's a ghastly expensive city, to live in and to visit. So it’s no wonder Airbnb did so well there: It offered visitors a less expensive option than hotels, and it gave hosts a way to earn extra money.
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