Starbucks logos: this is how it has evolved over the years

Starbucks logos

As time goes by, companies have to change their logos to adapt to developments, not only in business, but also in society. That is why those that are older have several designs. This is what happens with the Starbucks logos.

Do you know how they have evolved from their first logo to the one they currently display in their stores? As a creative, this can help you see how other professionals solve the issue of rebranding without losing the brand identity. Shall we take a look?

The origin of the Starbucks brand

man having something at Starbucks

Starbucks is a coffee chain that has been in business since 1971, year it was founded in Seattle, Washington. It is considered the largest in the world, with a presence in more than 70 countries.

In addition, Not only does it sell coffee, but it has other types of drinks. (both hot and cold), as well as sandwiches and pastries. It even sells merchandising products with its brand logo.

Starbucks logos


Source: ETCoxblog

From 1971 to 2024, the year in which we wrote this article, a lot of time has passed. And the brand has been evolving. In fact, we can tell you that when it started it did not sell the same things as it does now.

At the Starbucks logo level It has undergone several modifications from time to time. to adapt to the brand identity and also to its environment. We analyze them one by one.

1971, the birth of Starbucks

first starbucks logo

Source: Logomaster

2000 Western Avenue, in Seattle, is important to Starbucks because it was its first location and where the company was born. At that time the only thing he sold was coffee beans. That is, they did not sell the coffee but the ingredient to make it at home. Their supplier was Alfred Peet, at least for the first year, because then the demand made them have to close contracts with other suppliers.

The Founders of Starbucks were Jerry Baldwin (entrepreneur), Zev Siegl (violinist) and Gordon Bowker (writer) along with coffee businessman Alfred Peet.

Being the beginning, its logo is the most different from those that followed later. We found a logo that, except for the word "coffee", really the image they chose had more to do with Seattle's maritime roots than with coffee. It was a brown circle divided by two inner circles with white edges. The smallest circumference was in the center, and within it was framed a mermaid holding a tail with each hand. For the founders, they wanted this image to mean that customers or those who saw their logo would feel attracted to the coffee and that, when they tried it, the aroma and flavor would build loyalty.

In the second circumference the brand was given a “name”: Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices.

The transformation of Starbucks logos: a new era

In 1987 Starbucks decided it was time to change the logo that had accompanied it for several years. And it was a redesign that almost broke with the previous one.

To begin with, The brown color was changed to green. The two circumferences were maintained, except that the largest one moved until it was almost the edge of the circle.

Within the small circumference, the image of the mermaid with two tails was maintained, only it took on a much more modern appearance, with more details and freshness. Here it looked more like a vector than an illustration (as happened with the first logo).

Regarding the text in the second circumference, this was shortened, leaving only the words Starbucks (at the top), and coffee at the bottom. As a separation, a star on each side.

This change would also occur because it was the year in which they began to open stores outside of Seattle and in Chicago, so they needed a new image that was more powerful and, above all, more current for that time. Additionally, their product began to change. They didn't just sell coffee beans, but they began to prepare coffee in the stores to serve to their customers, something that made them gain more customers.

A new way

The previous logo was not as lucky to remain unchanged as the first one. And it is that, In 1992, with Starbucks going public and expanding globally, they changed the logo again. Of course, it did not change at the structural level, except for the image of the two-tailed mermaid.

In this case the vector of the previous logo was maintained. But instead of showing the entire body, they zoomed in on the image to focus only on the portrait of the mermaid, leaving the two tails almost as an ornament (whoever didn't know that it was a two-tailed mermaid wouldn't suspect that they represented this). . This was also because the original image showed her breasts and navel, something that was beginning to not look correct.

Another change that was made was changing the color green. In reality, they made it a little darker and deeper, giving a more balanced image to the logo and achieving a better effect and even brand recognition.

However, this logo was not active until 2011. There was a period, from 2006 to 2008, when it was changed to the original logo to connect with the origins. However, the fact that the image once again showed those “feminine attributes” was highly criticized.

Starbucks' 40th anniversary came with a new logo

The last of the Starbucks logos so far has been active since 2011. With a minimalist style, it breaks a little with what the brand has been representing. And it completely loses the text and, although it maintains the circular shape, it focuses directly on the mermaid. Specifically in the image of the previous logo. Of course, it retains the usual green color.

As you can see, Starbucks logos have evolved as the company has expanded and its vision has changed. But all of them retain something of the first. In this case, the image of the two-tailed mermaid that was so important to the founders because it reminded them of their beginnings in Seattle. As a creative, it can help you see how small changes can evolve the logo without losing the brand's identity. Have you already analyzed these logos?

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