A fortieth birthday deserves a little celebration, whether you are a person or an actual business. Starbucks obviously agrees with this statement, because they are celebrating forty years of delicious coffee drinks with a newly updated design that places their well-known siren image as the figurehead of their logo.
For years now, the Starbucks logo design has featured the siren, but she has shared the image with the coffee shop’s well-recognized name. Now, however, ‘Starbuck Coffee’ has been removed from the image. The siren is all that is left, paying homage to the logo design used by the company in its early days as a small shop in Seattle, Washington’s Pike Place Market about four decades ago.
The coffee house logo design has undergone many changes throughout the years, but these all refer back to a twin-tailed mermaid on a sixteenth century woodcut. The Starbucks founders felt that she was seductive yet strongly linked to a seafaring past that related both to Seattle and coffee (as well as the company name, which is a reference to Moby Dick). The original Starbucks logo was designed with the siren as the centerpiece. Over the years, she has been refined and placed in the center of a thick green circle bearing the company name. The new logo design, which will officially debut this spring, removes other elements and makes the siren once again the sole image of Starbucks.
Fans wonder if the change was at all necessary. As with any rebranding of a strong and popular company, there are negative comments. Starbucks’ Facebook page shows the backlash with comments such as, “Was the Starbucks corporate office asleep through all of the Gap controversy when they tried changing their logo? Leave it alone! There’s nothing wrong with it.” However, it should be noted that the Gap logo was a break from the company’s past, while the new Starbucks logo could be seen more as a return to it. Indeed, many Facebook fans are already embracing the change, which comments such as, “Love the new logo. Streamlined, modern, simple, elegant.”
While the siren is becoming the face of Starbucks once again, she is doing so in the fresh grassy green that has become one of the main company colors over the past decades. The coffee brown that has been an accent color for decades will now be completely removed from the equation altogether. By taking out their name as well as one of the colors in their official palette, Starbucks is betting that their brand and their siren are both recognizable enough to represent their brand without any outside assistance.
In addition, Starbucks is hinting at other changes both to their products and their overall corporate brand. If this logo design is any indication, we can bet that the changes will be a return to the good coffee and distinctly Northwestern brand that helped to build the company from a local favorite to a major player in the global coffeehouse scene.