running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Song To The Siren

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Starbucks Logo Development

Paula Scher once said that 'less is more unless it's less', and Starbucks, the world's largest coffee company, provides us with a good example that could go either way.

The Seattle-based company today unveiled a corporate identity re-branding. Amazingly, Starbucks has dropped the words 'Starbucks' and 'Coffee' which had encircled its iconic twin-tailed siren, to reveal a larger, greener, and less busy logo.

Starbucks will be hoping the wordless look augments with their much-anticipated new direction as the company recovers from its recent troubles.

It’s not the chain's first re-brand. Back in early 1970's, the ‘Starbucks siren’ wore a crown and stood bare-breasted, with not one but two mermaids’ tails. Since then a couple of further facelifts had refined the visual to a cropped headshot to give a more corporate look. And it's that corporate image that the rejuvenated company is trying to move away from.

Maybe they want to get back to their roots, but perhaps the coffee association has been deemed too restrictive. You only have to look at Nike and Apple to see that a memorable symbol logo can survive and develop without words attached to it.

Of course that design logic only works if the logo is associated with products or services that embody or represent the company and what it is all about.

Which begs the question, what is Starbucks hoping to sell to us instead of a doubleshot latte and free wi-fi?

Starbucks Drops Its Name, BBC
'I Hate Starbucks'