Logos make the most essential form of communication that brands use. Visual communication is the easiest to recognize and remember. Brands are aware of the importance of logos and they adjust them every time an update is necessary. Starbucks specialists have take note of how their logo influences sales and growth and treat it with care. The Starbucks logo evolution features some key moments which have more symbols that one should expect and/or know.

Starbucks brand started as a tiny coffee shop in Seattle, Washington. The shop opened its doors in 1971, without knowing that it was due to become one of the most powerful and spectacular brands in the world. Starbucks now operates in 27,339 worldwide locations. There were a few key moments in the Starbucks logo evolution which tightly connected to the brand, its values and its purpose.

The Starbucks Story Beginning (1971)

March 31st, 1971 was the day that Starbucks opened its doors by three business partners: Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker. The entrepreneurs wanted to create a store which sold high-quality coffee with an American taste. Starbucks earned its name from a character in Moby Dick literature work. The Starbucks logo evolution started from a sketch that the entrepreneurs found while looking for nautical symbols. The logo’s purpose was to remind customers of Seattle’s marine history.

Starbuck’s logo featured a siren in a circle from the beginning. At the time it featured a detailed siren sketch with visible bare breasts and a lower half with two split fish tails. After a few brainstorming sessions, graphic designer Terry Heckler drew the first brand logo. Joshua Darden made the signature font which remained throughout the Starbucks logo evolution. The first logo version had brown instead of green.

Starbucks Logo Evolution to Green (1987)

Starbucks was operating in 6 Seattle stores and it began selling espresso coffee. The company was slowly growing so it needed a new logo version. The mermaid became streamlined and was shown on a black background, inside a signature dark green circle.

Starbucks Coffee Tea Spices was no longer visible on the logo, as it now stated Starbucks Coffee. The new logo market the coffee shop’s friendlier and more specialized approach. Starbucks updated its logo after the original owners sold the brand to Howard Schultz. The updated logo resembles Il Giornale logo, the company that Schultz begun prior to purchasing Starbucks for $3.8 million.

A Starbucks Logo Evolution to Friendliness (1992)

Starbucks became publicly traded in 1992 so the brand had to adopt a friendlier and mainstream approach. Starbucks had 140 stores at the time and a business revenue worth of $73.5 million.

The company logo lost its black outer strip to a green one to make the entire logo more colorful. The mermaid was cropped and lost its lower half becoming even more sketchy. Starbuck’s logo color became lighter and smoother.

40 Years of Existence and a New Starbucks Logo (2011)

The latest step in the Starbucks logo evolution celebrates 40 years of brand existence and the rise to success. The brand remained dedicated to quality and excellence, but now it had a new message to send. Starbucks exists thanks to its partners and customers. As per the company reps, Starbucks had to mark a new chapter.

The Starbucks logo evolution featured a key moment in 2011, when it lost its writing entirely. The circle also lost its contour and the white mermaid was represented on green background, instead of black. There were no more excessive colors. Moreover, the symbolic two stars were also removed.  The Starbucks logo evolution reached to the peak when the brand is recognizable even without stating its name. This could be the most impressive branding lessons for experts. It can even be a goal for beginning photographers who haven’t considered a personal logo yet.

BEIJING, CHINA – MAY 12, 2016: Starbucks coffee shop in Beijing, China

Tips from the Starbucks Logo Evolution

  • Simplifying a logo so much that the brand name is no longer necessary is common when worldwide recognition is achieved. Some others who have also taken this route are Apple, Nike and Shell.
  • The logo updates are, above all, adjustments to make visual communication up-to-date. They can be announced and connected to brand symbolism or they can just be released without prior notice.
  • Logos don’t need to be perfect. As the Google circle is not perfect, so is the face of the Starbucks mermaid. As per the brand reps, the mermaid’s face has a shade on her right side to make the symbol more human and less of a mask.

Provoke Yourself

The Starbucks logo evolution is not one that contains dozens of adjustments, updates and rebranding initiatives. However, the company always marked a logo change by a relevant moment in the brand’s activity.

Graphic designers and photography specialists can learn branding from what worldwide famous logos have initiated and changed in their history. Learn the most from their lessons!

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