Starbucks Updates Their Logo & Talks About The Siren & Their Future


People are generally reluctant to change. At least that’s what many psych studies show – as well as some of the reactions to this logo redesign. Personally, I love it (but then again, I loved the Comedy Central logo redesign that many did not).

Starbucks Updates Their Logo

starbucks logo evolution

Regardless of your feelings, Starbucks, now celebrating 40 years, has unveiled their modernized “Siren”, the twin-tailed mermaid who has adorned their logo since appearing in their 1971 woodcut logo design. They have dropped the name and stars, along with the outer ring, in favor of a more stylized simplified design.

an illustrated history of the starbuck's logo

So, Who is the Siren?
by Steve M., senior writer for Starbucks

twin-tailed siren 15th century

Great question. It’s one we kept asking ourselves during the evolution of our logo (and yes, that’s right, a writer was involved in a logo project). We all needed to really, deeply understand for ourselves who she is.

So, a little history.

Let’s go all the way back to 1971, to when Starbucks was first coming to be. In a search for a way to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots, there was a lot of poring over old marine books going on. Suddenly, there she was: a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren. There was something about her – a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme that was exactly what the founders were looking for. A logo was designed around her, and our long relationship with the Siren began.

the 1971 Starbucks logo
above: the 1971 Starbucks logo

Over the last 40 years we’ve made some changes to that identity. Now we’re doing that again, to keep ourselves relevant as we evolve without ever losing sight of our heritage. But the Siren has always been there. She is at the heart of Starbucks.

As a writer, though, I can tell you that there is a lot more to her than just the design and how she looks. This is what she means to me, and to us.

above: the 1987 logo included the full image of the stylized “siren”

She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead.

above: 1992, they cut out her navel and blew up the image

And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.

She means something different to every one who sees her, who knows her. For me she’s kind of the final say on the spirit of everything I write and everything we do. Even as I’m writing this, I wonder what she thinks. (She likes it, by the way.)

Here we are today. Our new evolution liberates the Siren from the outer ring, making her the true, welcoming face of Starbucks.

starbucks logo 2011

For people all over the globe, she is a signal of the world’s finest coffee – and much more. She stands unbound, sharing our stories, inviting all of us in to explore, to find something new and to connect with each other. And as always, she is urging all of us forward to the next thing. After all, who can resist her? Not me.

Looking Forward to Starbucks Next Chapter
January 05, 2011 – Posted by Howard S., Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

We’ve always believed the best days of Starbucks are ahead of us. So we’re excited to share with you where we’re going.

Nearly forty years ago – in a small retail space in Seattle’s Pike Place Market – Starbucks began its journey as a roaster and retailer of high-quality coffees from around the world. Back then, we sold only whole bean coffee – we wouldn’t begin offering espresso beverages in our stores until more than a decade later – but the Siren was as much a part of the Starbucks story as she is today.

On any given day here in Seattle, I might visit that original Pike Place store – but I might also drop in at our newly refurbished Olive Way store. The two store designs couldn’t be any more different – one harkens back to our heritage, the other looks boldly ahead to our future – but at their core, they’re identical, in that they retain the elements that have been true about Starbucks since the very beginning:

– A unique retail experience that creates a Third Place for our customers between their homes and places of work
– A carefully crafted offering of the finest, high-quality coffees from around the world
– The emotional connection that our partners make daily with our customers.

Throughout the last four decades, the Siren has been there through it all. And now, we’ve given her a small but meaningful update to ensure that the Starbucks brand continues to embrace our heritage in ways that are true to our core values and that also ensure we remain relevant and poised for future growth.

As we look forward to Starbucks next chapter, we see a world in which we are a vital part of over 16,000 neighborhoods around the world, in more than 50 countries, forming connections with millions of customers every day in our stores, in grocery aisles, at home and at work. Starbucks will continue to offer the highest-quality coffee, but we will offer other products as well – and while the integrity, quality and consistency of these products must remain true to who we are, our new brand identity will give us the freedom and flexibility to explore innovations and new channels of distribution that will keep us in step with our current customers and build strong connections with new customers.

You’ll begin to see our evolution starting this Spring. And there will be much more to come, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary by honoring the millions of customers and thousands of partners who’ve made Starbucks such a welcoming presence around the world. We think you’ll like what you see.

Thank you for continuing to make Starbucks part of your life.
Howard Schultz, CEO

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