How Airbnb rebranded its website and app

The new-look website

The new-look website

Airbnb not only received a beautiful new website and app in 2014, but a rebrand that helped position more of a focus on the company’s hosts and community.

During the rebrand, DesignStudio, a global agency that's also worked with the likes of Nokia and Sony PlayStation, became an extension of Airbnb’s internal team.

In collaboration with R/GA, the team built a fun, interactive tool – using HTML5, Canvas and CSS3 (with CSS animations) and Backbone, jQuery and Modernizr for feature detection – that allows users to make the Airbnb logo their own.

The CreateAirbnb tool was built using Backbone, jQuery and Modernizr

The CreateAirbnb tool was built using Backbone, jQuery and Modernizr

Users can create a unique community symbol using a collection of over 1000 illustrations and forms. The ‘Make Airbnb Yours’ tool is a great example of using modern technology in a unique way. High fives all around

The redesign also helped flush out the inconsistencies that Airbnb had previously faced across desktop, mobile and its app. These all now feel part of the same experience.

All parties did a wonderful job of creating a sense of community through new photography, warm colour palettes and graphic treatments. The whole experience now feels much more human.

Airbnb logo

The new logo symbol

"The results are the combined effort of many months' work, starting with an intensive week of four of our team travelling to 13 cities, staying with 18 hosts across four continents, to working between our London studio and a pop-up studio at Airbnb's San Francisco headquarters," says DesignStudio's James Greenfield.

You can learn more about the rebranding process by reading his personal account of events here.

Words: Brian Hoff

Brian is the founder and creative director of Brian Hoff Design, a Philadelphia-based boutique digital agency creating web and mobile platforms and products. Follow him on Twitter at @behoff.

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