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Starbucks Logo – An Overview of Design, History and Evolution

Saumya Raghav by Saumya Raghav Tweet - in Logo Design

History of Starbucks Logo


Starbucks is a global coffee giant, which was founded in 1971 as a local coffee bean retailer. Headquartered in Seattle, the company is now the world’s biggest coffeehouse chain, comprising of approximately 20,891 stores in 62 countries.

Starbucks logo is a unique design that unfailingly catches the interest and attention of onlookers. This memorable symbol is one of most recognized business logo designs that’s adored by coffee lovers from across the globe. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the unique concept of Starbucks logo design has contributed immensely in the company’s success worldwide.

Here, we bring you up-close and personal with the design, history and evolution of Starbucks logo which is nothing less than magnificent.

So let’s begin, shall we?

Starbucks Logo – History & Origin

Starbucks Illustrated History

Starbucks was founded by three partners in Seattle, Washington on March 30, 1971.  The three partners – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. The trio named the company Pequod after a whaling ship in Herman Melville’s American classic, Moby-Dick. But the name was a peculiar one and after a series of discussions, the trio changed the name of the company to Starbuck, chief mate on the Pequod.

The original Starbucks logo was the image of a “twin-tailed mermaid”, or siren. Greek mythology has it that sirens lured sailors to shipwreck off the coast of an island in the South Pacific, also sometime referred to as Starbuck Island. The logo was used by the original Starbucks founders to lure coffee lovers from everywhere.

Since its creation, the original Starbucks logo has undergone many changes. The logo design saw dramatic changes in the year 1987 when the company was acquired by Howard Schultz. The original name, Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice was also changed to Starbucks Coffee. It was Schultz who got the otherwise complicated Starbucks logo cleaned up a bit and added a more corporate polished look and feel to this business logo design. Despite of all the dramatic changes made to the design, Starbucks logo still retains its original ‘Mermaid’ icon.

The logo has evolve over time with rapid growth in the popularity of Starbucks.  In fact, the logo has become one of the most recognizable icons across the globe.

Starbucks Logo – Evolution

One of the major reasons for people recognizing Starbucks logo easily is its unique shape and smart use of simple and soothing colors. The present version of logo is in a circular shape and brilliantly features the image of a siren in green and white color scheme.

 Starbucks Logo Designs

Here’s how the Starbucks logo design evolved over the years.

  • 1971 – The first-ever Starbucks logo designed in 1971 featured the topless ‘Siren’ with her double fish tail and navel fully visible. The logo design comprised of a circular ring surrounding the mythical two-tail mermaid figure in a coffee brown color palette.

  • 1987 – The second version of Starbucks logo was designed in 1987. This logo featured the image of bare-bodied mermaid or siren covered with flowing hair. However, this logo design had the naval of the mermaid visible. The name of the company was featured in wordmark inside the circle with 2 with two stars on either sides. Moreover, the green color palate was introduced so as to represent growth, freshness, uniqueness and prosperity of Starbucks, which was acquired by Howard Schultz.

  • 1992 – The third version of Starbucks logo design evolved into a clean design with a close-up view of the mermaid. The navel disappeared from the design and only the fish tail were visible. The logo featured green and white color palette with company name mentioned in wordmark inside the circle with 2 stars on either sides.

  • 2011 – Starbucks logo was further redesigned in the year 2011 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the company. The revised, streamlined logo design featured the enlarged image of the siren in green color. The wordmark and the stars disappeared from the design. The design was not well received by fans and admirers and had to face harsh criticism from design experts.

Starbucks Logo – Design Elements

Original Starbucks Logo

Starbucks legendary logo design is the brainchild of Terry Heckler, who pored over old marine books until he came up with a logo based on an old 16th-century Norse woodcut: a two-tailed mermaid.

The iconic Starbucks logo design is one of the world’s most memorable emblems and has garnered prestigious design awards for its futuristic design and intricate details. The logo recently underwent a dramatic change to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the coffee shop giant in 2011. The redesign was done by Starbucks in-house design team and Lippincott.

Here’s a little smattering on the design elements of the Starbucks logo design.

  • Shape: The Starbucks logo is circular in shape. The design also features the brand name in wordmark inside the circles with two stars on either sides. The newest logo design features an enlarged Siren with no stars and wordmark.

  • Color: The popular Starbucks logo features white and deep green colors. The two tails are white in color whereas green makes for the background of the logo design.

  • Fonts: The previous version of Starbucks logo design featured a simple yet bold font. However, the new logo design does not feature any wordmarks or stars.

This history, evolution and design of Starbucks logo clearly reveal how its originality and uniqueness helped it withstand the test of time and emerge as one of the most popular landmark in the world.

Also, go through The History & Evolution of Popular Logos

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Saumya Raghav

Saumya Raghav is a content marketer who works at Designhill, one of the world’s fastest-growing custom design crowdsourcing marketplace. A blogger, columnist, content marketing expert, editor, marketing instructor, and conversion scientist by day and a reader by night, he has authored scores of articles, research papers and case studies on digital marketing strategies, technical and international SEO, web analytics, startup and small business strategies, growth hack strategies, conversion optimization strategies, etc. You can engage with him on Twitter

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