One of the most recognizable and visually unusual in the world is Starbucks’s logo, a coffee company that owns a global network of coffee houses; today, there are more than 30 thousand in 76 countries. The story of the success and appearance of the original emblem is very interesting.
Meaning and History
The trademark was founded in 1971 by three friends – the writer Gordon Bowker, history teacher Zev Siegl and English teacher Jerry Baldwin. Their acquaintance Alfred Peet taught his friends a new way of roasting coffee beans, and they got the idea to make their coffee shop. The young people formed $ 1,350 each, took out a loan for another $ 5,000, and rented premises in the Shchuchye market in Seattle (Washington state). The Starbucks Coffee Tea Spices opened on September 30th, and the incredible aroma lured customers. The sign also featured a mythological sea mermaid with a naked bust and two tails.
The establishment was located right on the sea embankment, and the young people decided to play up the marine theme in the name and emblem of the company. They borrowed the Starbucks name from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. There the mate Ahab had the nickname Starback, who was very fond of strong coffee. The sonorous and memorable word has been slightly changed, which added meaning to it – Star (star) and bucks (dollars).
The idea of the original emblem was suggested to young entrepreneurs by artist Terry Heckler. He studied more than ten historical books on navigation and offered to take a drawing depicting a sea mermaid with two tails – La Sirena. He found this engraving in a book of 1500 as an illustration of the Scandinavian sagas. The author of the first logo is designer D. Darden.
1971 – 1987
The first logo, created in 1971, faithfully copied a woodcut: a naked Siren with a luxurious bust with a crown on her head, holding her two tails with her hands. The picture is placed in a circle, which, in turn, is located in a larger concentric circle. The name of Starbucks is written in the frame at the top, Fresh Roasted Coffee at the bottom. The white picture was placed on a dark roasted coffee background.
1987 – 1992
The emblem was changed in 1987. The Siren’s image was made more stylized due to the strong outrage of the Puritan citizens of Seattle. By then, Starbucks had a large chain of cafes, branded cardboard cups, and branded coffee delivery vehicles. The city authorities began to receive complaints that small children see the naked chest of the sea diva. The owners decided not to tease society, so the mermaid was made more modest, her seductive bust was covered with wavy hair. The crown on the head became clearer and larger, and a five-pointed star was placed in the middle. The inner-circle remained almost black; the outer turned green. The Starbucks name was made larger, with only the word coffee at the bottom, separated by asterisks.
1992 – 2011
In 1992, the owners of thriving coffee houses were again forced to change the emblem’s design under pressure from society – respectable conservative citizens were embarrassed by the naked navel of a mermaid. This was done and radically – the lower part of the Sirena was cut off, the rest of the picture was enlarged.
2011 – present
In 2011, the brand became recognizable worldwide, and the company’s management concluded that it was possible to remove unnecessary design elements – they cut the entire outer circle with inscriptions. Only a beautiful mermaid on a green background remained. Such changes were also made in the current trend of ECO-logo – simplification of the design and the amount of paint on the logo to preserve the nature and ecology of space.
Font and Color of the Emblem
There is another interesting feature associated with this logo. Fans of conspiracy theories saw many strange marks in the trademark. The mermaid herself in the 1971 emblem is very similar to Queen Esther, which means that the company owners are Zionists. If the image is turned upside down, then the picture will look like the head of a goat, which is considered a symbol of the devil. The five-pointed star on the crown is the Satanic pentagram.
In the press, these guesses were exaggerated for a long time. On the one hand, like Sirena’s bare chest, this was additional free advertising; on the other hand, when the company was growing successfully, I did not want to risk its reputation. Therefore, it was decided to replace the old image with a more beautiful and simple picture.
The unconventional approach to logo selection has become one of the three main drivers of global success, along with product quality and the idea of chain coffee shops.
The new logo today symbolizes the connection of modernity with the traditions and values of American society. Green and minimalism are a tribute to the company’s ecological direction, aimed at preserving the environment.
The old logo has played a key role in the skyrocketing popularity of coffee shops right from the start. The unusual picture attracted attention, made people interested in Starbucks products. Now the history of creating this logo is being studied in design schools as an example of a successful combination of a smart marketing ploy and visual language of information presentation.
The classic Freight Sans font is used to write the company’s name on product packages and documentation; all letters are clear, legible, sans serifs, and bold details.
The modern logo’s main color scheme is one of the shades of green, which has the hex code: # 00704A; in the Pantone color system, it is marked 3425C. For the name, white (hex: #FFFFFF) and black (hex: # 000000) colors are used.