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Starbucks Logo – An Overview of Design, History And Evolution

by Saumya Raghav Tweet - in Logo Design

Starbucks Logo

Last updated on January 15th, 2024

Starbucks is a massive brand of brewed coffee, with the company having its outlets in every nook and corner of the world. The company made a humble start and kept on expanding its brand steadily. Today, every coffee lover recognizes Starbucks and its logo as a sign of a trustworthy coffee brand. Right from its inception, the logo has played a vital role in the growth of the brand. However, the company’s modern simple mermaid logo was not the same in its initial phase. Its design also evolved with the brand. Here is how the emblem changed over the years.

Someone once said – Wake up and Smell the Coffee. Well, he wasn’t wrong. Coffee is the universal mood uplifter. The holy nectar that helps many across the world get through the Monday blues. And Starbucks has best-explored consumers’ fondness for coffee.

Starbucks is a global brand popular amongst coffee lovers of all generations. But it is not just because of its trademark; its flavor helped the brand gain such popularity. In addition, its unique mermaid logo design has also contributed a lot to promoting the brand globally.

The Starbucks logo is a unique design playing with cultural elements that people can quickly connect to. The logo itself has gone through many changes over the decades. If you also wish to create such a logo without spending much money, then a logo maker can help you. You can design your logo all by yourself and customize it to your satisfaction.

Headquartered in Seattle, this coffee giant started as a local coffee bean retailer, but now it is the world’s biggest coffeehouse chain, comprising approximately 20,891 stores in 62 countries.

Here Is How You Can Get An Idea Of How Big This Brand Is In Terms Of Stats

  • Starbucks had 32,646 stores across the globe in 2020.
  • In the same year, the company’s revenue had reached 19.16 billion dollars.
  • A typical customer of Starbucks visits its store six times per month. But 20 % of customers visit the store 16 times in a month.
  • Starbucks has 87,000 drink combinations on its menu.
  • Since 1987, Starbucks has been adding two stores per day worldwide to its locations.

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How It All Started For Starbucks

The three partners – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971.

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.

Starbucks Founders

Starbucks founders – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Seigl, and Gordon Bowker

The first Starbucks store that the three founder friends started did not sell brewed coffee. They intended to sell bags of roasted coffee beans.

They learnt the technique of roasting coffee beans from someone named Alfred Peet. So, the founders started a company to offer roasted coffee beans to the general market.

When they searched for an appropriate name for the company, they looked at a map and a town name “Strabo” on it. That was the source of the company name Starbucks. But there are other stories about the origin of the company name.

Started With Selling Coffee Beans

However, even fifteen years after launching Starbucks, it was still not selling any espresso coffee. But it offered free samples of coffee beans sourced from Alfred Pete, and these beans were popular amongst consumers.

By 1986, Starbucks had started selling its coffee beans from six locations in Seattle. In 1987, the founders sold the company to a former manager Howard Schulz, its sole owner. Schulz expanded Starbucks and made it what we know it today.

The company specialized in offering a wide range of coffees that is otherwise harder for the customers to brew. Starbuck enjoys the trust of coffee lovers even in today’s world, where there are plenty of locally-owned coffee shops.

The Most Recognized Logo

A reason why Starbucks is still a vast brewed coffee brand is its logo. Starbucks logo evokes history and trust. People have been seeing this unique business emblem for decades. They take the mermaid logo as some sort of culture and are proud of it. To draw the attention of coffee aficionados, every coffee shop logo should be as enthralling as the Starbucks logo.

The logo design compels them to visit Starbucks coffee shops and take a sip. We can say that the unique design of the Starbucks symbol has been a reason for such massive success of the company.

Starbucks logo and its packaging have a unique design that consistently catches the interest and attention of onlookers. As we know, a logo (designed by a professional designer or a logo generator) is the face of a company.

This memorable symbol is one of the most recognized business logo designs that coffee lovers from across the globe adore. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the unique concept of the Starbucks logo has contributed immensely to the company’s success worldwide.

The latest Starbucks logo is a much-simplified version of its old logos as the surrounding text, and the emblem does not have double outer circles anymore.

The new logo is a versatile symbol that looks impressive on shirt designs, signage’s, brochures, websites, and many other promotional products.

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

Starbucks Logo – Evolution History

Logo Evolution

The Siren

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

Talking about the Starbucks logo’s meaning, Steve Murray, creative director in the Starbucks Global Creative Studio, had once said, “The Siren is] definitely about coffee, but it’s about a lot more than coffee. It’s about being good to people, being good to the world.

That’s something that we do in the way that we source our coffee and that we help farmers, the way we treat our customers and the way we treat our partners. I think it’s about being good citizens of the planet and taking care of each other in that way and standing up for what we believe in.”

The old Starbucks logo has evolved with rapid growth in the popularity of Starbucks. Now, the emblem has become one of the most recognizable icons across the globe.

Since its creation, the original Starbucks logo has undergone many changes. The logo design saw dramatic changes in the year 1987 when Howard Schultz acquired the company.

The company removed the words “Starbucks’’, “Coffee”, “Tea’’, and “Spice’’, and switched instead to ‘’Starbucks Coffee’’.

Schultz got the otherwise complicated Starbucks logo cleaned up and added a more corporate polished look and feel to this business logo design. Despite all the dramatic changes made to the design, the Starbucks logo still retains its original ‘Mermaid’ icon.

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

Are you looking for logo ideas for your business? Check out these logo designs here. We hope that you will get some inspiration from these designs.

INFOGRAPHIC: How The Starbucks Logo Evolved

This infographic nicely illustrates how the logo design of Starbucks evolved throughout the years. Today, the Starbucks logo is amongst the most recognizable symbols worldwide. Let’s glance at the infographic below that summarizes this iconic emblem’s design, history and evolution.

Starbucks Logo

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Here’s How The Starbucks Logo Design Evolved Over The Years

1971 to 1987

Starbucks logo first appeared in 1971 and continued to be the brand identity for the next fifteen years. The initial logo of 1971 had a two-tailed mermaid or siren. It had a wordmark around the circular badge.

The siren Starbucks original logo design was full of details. There were many small accents, which gave it an ornate and traditional look. Also, the logo had text written in block letters in a modern sans-serif typeface. Such a typeface balanced the ornate look of the mermaid inside of the circle.

Coffee Design

The text on the thick edge of the circle was the company name “Starbucks’’ at the top. Then, :Coffee Tea Spices’’ on the bottom. Two white dots also were on each side of the word “Tea’’.

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1987 to 1992

In 1987, the company came up with a new Starbucks logo. This time, the badge had a new addition — green color. The thick round image of the siren was in green.

Only two words “Starbucks’’ and “Coffee’’ were now on the wide rounded frame of the siren. The typeface was bolder, and the letters were also bolder and more prominent.

This logo featured the image of a bare-bodied mermaid or siren covered with flowing hair. However, this logo design had the navel of the mermaid visible.

new Starbucks logo

The company’s name was featured in a wordmark inside the circle with two stars on either side. Moreover, the company introduced a green color palette to represent Starbucks’ growth, freshness, uniqueness, and prosperity, which Howard Schultz acquired.

The Starbuck logo also had a new addition of two white dots on each side of the circle. These dots were two five-pointed stars in white.

The third version of the 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 fishtail was visible.

The logo featured a green and white color palette with the company name mentioned in the wordmark inside the circle with two stars on either side.

1992 to 2011

In 1992, the designers enlarged the image of sirens to the extent that the face occupied the most circle space. Now, viewers could see only the siren’s face, hair and a side hint of the two mermaid tails.

Mermaid logo

Another change that the design witnessed was the typeface. The redesigned Starbucks logo had a slightly modernized typeface, with the letters being wider and huge. That is why the logo was the most recognized emblem back then.

2011 to Today

The company redesigned the Starbucks logo in 2011 and made it a brighter and simplified version of the previous one. In that year, the company was celebrating its 40th anniversary. This time, the siren became all white, and her hair and the two mermaid tails were in the green Starbucks background.

The logo looked simple after the words “Starbucks’’ and “Coffee’’ were no longer in the logo. Also, the designers got rid of the two stars. So, the back details were missing in the new redesign. With the unique color combination, the company’s logo transformation was complete.

Now, once the designers decided that the siren should focus on the Starbucks logo redesign, they made some adjustments. They made considerable changes in the way the siren’s nose, eyes, and hair looked. One of the significant changes they made was to reposition her face. It radicalized the design to a larger extent.

Starbucks Siren Logo

The Siren’s flowing locks look much broader in the new Starbucks logo. Her face became much broader and significant, and it was placed in an asymmetrical position.

But the mermaid’s face had a slight right shading to not look like a mask. Making her face look asymmetrical made the siren look approachable and realistic.

Ten years after the redesign, the company used this textless Starbucks logo. It is now a much simpler emblem that people can identify everywhere.

Today, the Starbucks logo is one of the most versatile designs that look outstanding on a funny tshirt design and other materials for brand promotion.

Starbucks Logo – Design Elements

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

Design Elements

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 by Starbucks in-house design team and Lippincott.

Here’s A Smattering Of The Starbucks Logo Design Elements

i. Shape:

The Starbucks logo is circular. The design also features the brand name in a wordmark inside the circles with two stars on either side. The newest logo design features an enlarged Siren with no stars and a wordmark.

A circle is amongst the most commonly used shapes in graphic design. Most designers express eternity through a circle, which has no beginning and endpoint.


So, possibly, the Starbucks logo makers had this expression in mind while choosing the circular shape. Maybe, they wanted to convey the continuing movement or legacy of the coffee industry.

The circular shape version of the 1987 Starbucks logo had the text insides of the circle and two stars outside on the circle. These elements are no more part of the logo now.

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ii. Color:

Green and white are the brand colors of Starbucks. The green dominates the Starbucks logo as its background color, while the white is for the main siren symbol.

Green is the color for healing, protection, and nature. It also signifies wealth. Since coffee is a plant, so, no surprise that green is the dominant color in the logo.

But green is also the Starbuck logo for another reason. The company has been ethnically sourcing coffee over the years. So, it wants to have cordial relations with the local farmers and customers. With green in the logo, Starbucks wants people to see it as a company with social responsibility.

iii. Fonts:

The Starbucks logo today has no text. But once, it had a simple but bold font. The brand name appeared in block letters in a sans-serif Starbucks font type in a clean way.

After the company was a popular and familiar name with coffee lovers across the globe, it eliminated its name from the logo. Now, the customers can quickly figure out the company’ store by seeing its logo.

So, this was a fascinating history of how the Starbucks logo evolved over the decades. It shows that the company had a keen eye on the changing times and redesigned its emblem promptly.

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Wrapping Up

Starbucks logo is a unique and simple design. Today, it has just the face of the siren, her thick flowy locks, and a hint of two tails of the mermaid. It is no doubt one of the most recognizable logos. But it evolved from being a highly detailed mermaid logo and then having two stars, and some text. Gradually, the company removed those additional elements to make it a simple logo in green and white that we see today.

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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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