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Did Airbnb get their logo from someone else, or is it merely coincidence?

Airbnb’s new logo created quite a bit of controversy. So much so, they created a video to explain it. Now it looks as though they got it from someone else.


Remember the mock-worthy Airbnb logo?

Remember when we discussed Airbnb’s new phallic-like logo? Well, it seems the logo may have actually originated from somewhere else, or, two people had very similar ideas. Allow me to explain: a poster on Reddit, recently raised eyebrows when they stumbled across a book from 1989, that seemed to have the Airbnb logo inside. The book, “Trademarks & Symbols of the World,” curiously contains an Airbnb-esque logo. Okay, maybe not Airbnb-esque, so much as a near carbon copy.

There is no definitive proof that they replicated the image, as the shape is a simplistic twist on the letter “A,” but the odds are astounding! In the picture below, originally found here, you will see Airbnb’s logo, or what has become their logo (#36):

Airbnb logo from 1988 book

The Redditor I mentioned above, found the source of the original logo. It was originally designed by a Japanese designer, Akisato Ueda, for a drive-in movie theater, named Azuma. This theater dates back to 1975 and it is unclear when Azuma would have stopped using the logo (or otherwise released the trademark).

Is there such thing as an original thought?

This is interesting given the amount of confusion Airbnb seemed to cause with their new logo release. They even created a video to describe how the logo – beyond making one feel a sense of belonging – is also supposed to represent love, people, places, and the letter “A.” If you have to go to such lengths to explain your logo, is it really doing its job?

People still seem to be talking about it, especially now that there is a glaring similarity between their logo and the one Akisato Ueda created in 1975. Perhaps the logo is working, in that people are still talking about and if people are talking about, Airbnb is getting free marketing. The similarities between the two are astounding, but it is quite likely two people thought of two similar designs. What do you think? Did Airbnb draw inspiration from Ueda’s design, or is it merely coincidence?

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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