Creative + Co-Pilot

What I've Learned From Teaching as an Adjunct Professor This Year

Smart Critique vs. Being a Whiney Bitch


I was poking around Twitter yesterday and ran into the new Airbnb logo... Well, let's just say it ran into me. Airbnb is a community marketplace where guests can book spaces from hosts, connecting people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. It just rebranded itself for the better.



From every angle of the web, designers in hoards are lining up their 140 character artillery to shit on another high visibility rebrand from their hip little bunkers far away. (Yes I'm comparing Twitter to war) Troves of "supposed professionals" turn from creative directors, art directors and designers into whiney little bitches that are lobbing virtual assaults from the convenience of their smart phones. The mark is solid, it's one that embodies the spirit of Airbnb, refocuses their mission and did NOT look like hanging testicles at first glance. It is the letter "A" with a location icon connecting it. It is not butt cheeks, nor camel-toe. It's a sharp mark with meaning. People are so hung up on the mark that they can't see how this is a great repositioning for the company. "Belong Anywhere" is a great tagline and puts the emphasis on people, not the location. This is good strategy. That is a great mindset to put your audience in and help forge decision making for the brand in the future.

As artists we are formally taught in school and by our mentors to objectively critique. I'm guilty of driving by any billboard campaign from Goodwill Industries and cringing, throwing up in my mouth a little and complaining about how it belittles it's workers. I've gone through critiques in college and been dubbed the "asshole" because I was trying to help someone push their solutions further, or I said things that needed to be said but didn't necessarily want to be heard. There are many mediums that folks can utilize to step up on their elitist perch to bitch, but think about this: Just because people say something loud does not mean they are saying something meaningful or valid. It truly shows people aren't thinking about  the process a design team goes through to get work approved and pushed into production. A logo is just one aspect of a brands moving parts. As designers we have a responsibility to start thinking of design as a system and not a one-off solution, but more importantly we need to form our own opinions and voice them in a way that doesn't make us look like assholes.




Stephen Jones