Hosting Hands

Bringing humanity into Airbnb Open's brand identity system

Categories: Behind the Scenes — Patrick Duffy

There were two key inspirations for “Hosting Hands” the visual identity of Airbnb Open 2015. First, it was important for us to recognise and celebrate all the hard work our hosts put in every single day. At Airbnb, we talk a lot about how great it is to be a host, and all of the benefits that this life can bring, but we don’t often focus on the hard work and efforts that goes into hosting. Our second inspiration was based on a realisation: Airbnb is a human company, not a tech company. Sure, we have an incredible digital platform, but it’s the personal, human connections that are happening all over the world, every single day, that makes this community like no other.


The intention for Open was to show these two unique aspects of our brand working together to form one message. We partnered with photographer Jess Bonham, as well as prop stylist and artist, Anna Lomax, to create a colorful photographic world in which the many tasks of a host–from cooking and cleaning to welcoming and guiding–are represented in a celebratory and positive manner.

Our creative direction was influenced by our community, and we made a huge effort to represent our relationship to hosts through photography.

At Open, Airbnb employees host our hosts: so, in this spirit, we enlisted our wonderful and always-hospitable Dublin team to act as hand models. Not only was this a fantastic experience, it was also a great way to show our understanding of the host experience.

The graphic system reflects the community (the grid) working together: all individuals, but joined together by a common purpose. It was designed to be simple, colorful, and flexible enough to stretch across web, app, print and environments.
Airbnb internal

Airbnb Open visual identity designers: Patrick Duffy and Andrea Nguyen

Patrick Duffy is a Creative Lead for EMEA at Airbnb.

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