The Overlooked Element of Airbnb’s Website Redesign
Earlier this week, Airbnb, the world leader in travel rentals, launched a massive redesign and a top-to-bottom transformation of their brand to appeal to their growing global audience. The project was done by global brand and design agency, DesignStudio.
The announcement of the redesign was not done quietly. The internet had varied, and numerous reactions to the redesign, in particular the logo. What I find most notable about the project is that Airbnb elected to keep most functional elements of the website the same. This was a brand refresh in its purest form, and the rebrand served as the driving force of the redesign.
The new look of Airbnb is guided by its use of storytelling to reframe Airbnb as a lifestyle brand.
But the overlooked element of Airbnb’s Website Redesign was brought to my attention by a member of our internal design team. Every week our UX/UI team meet to discuss industry trends, best , and current projects on their plate. This meeting is called “Get Awesome” and after Airbnb announced the launch of their new web experience, the designers got to talking.
After digging through the hype about what human body part the logo resembled and comments about the filter functionality were made, a nugget of golden wisdom surfaced from the debate and it wasn’t about the project, it was about the process. In particular, collaboration.
“It looks like a lot of things (the logo), but the project process write-up is impressive. They (DesignStudio) even had an internal project blog they kept throughout called, “Create the Awesome.” - Brian Krall
Collaboration. Flexible. Experience. Immersion.
All of these words describe the project blog and DesignStudio’s relationship with Airbnb. It wasn’t enough to come up with revised style tiles, updated fonts, or new layouts. The success of the rebrand and redesign lies in the authenticity of the focus and relationship - of Airbnb’s desire to shape the way the world views travel, hospitality, and sharing.
The process can be described as non-prescribed. It demonstrates how a rebrand like this can be such an organic process and it takes a lot of involvement from both sides to get to the final product. Their motto? Close collaboration leads to greater results.
Partnership is central to our philosophy at DesignStudio; we take collaboration to the furthest point and Airbnb recognised the value of our agile non-prescribed approach. - DesignStudio
The overlooked element in all of the discussion about the brand’s redesign is exactly this: collaboration.
To build an authentic experience online, designers and developers need to collaborate with each other and their clients to create real brands around real services.