Coinstar Loses “Star Power”

By Mash Bonigala

‘Star power’ is something that we associate with celebrities, but many businesses use the shape and the word in their name and logo design to reap the positive associations. Coinstar is one example of this principle. The popular machine sits in many grocery stores and other establishments ready to turn your coins into more usable bills or gift cards. This may be a mundane function, but it is spiced up by using the word ‘star’ in the name of the business and, until recently, the logo design.

However, this business is changing, necessitating a logo design change as well. The Coinstar company no longer specializes in coins alone; the Coinstar company also owns Redbox, another store lobby fixture.

The old logo (and the current corporate logo) feature the Coinstar name in a green, italicized script that is a mix of lettering, with the crossbar on the T jutting out into a stylized star shape. There is nothing inherently wrong with this logo; green is an obvious color for a business dealing with money, while the star ties into the name and adds interest. The problem is that using the same logo for the parent company and the actual machines makes Redbox look somewhat like the proverbial red-headed stepchild. Therefore, while Coinstar, Inc. is keeping the old logo, the Coinstar machines will be getting the logo facelift.

The new logo design on Coinstar machines features friendly, lower case lettering in a much simpler font. A more modern and less money-related color palette is being used as well. The turquoise is cool and reminiscent of island vacations, while the green is minty and far from the color of actual bills. A group of five round shapes ties into the coins, but these are arranged into a flower shape that is also somewhat tropical in feel. If you examine it closely, the five coins could also form an abstract, rounded star, although this is less obvious than the floral connection.

One benefit of the new logo is that the five circle image will achieve some recognition even without the wording. This combined with the distinctive color palette will make this design more versatile, able to be used in a variety of contexts while maintaining its recognizable look and feel.

Separating the corporate logo from the consumer one is a good plan in general for corporations that encompass several different brands. However, we wonder if this new logo is right for the familiar cash machines, which have already flooded American markets and even made the trans-Atlantic move to the UK. Because the old Coinstar logo was working so well, it may have been better (and much cheaper as well) to keep the original logo on the machines and use the new design for corporate. On the other hand, consumers love something new, and the original design was growing dated. Hopefully the new logo attracts a little more attention without alienating established customers. With several professional logo designs, this corporation can move into the future confidently.