For many, the holiday season begins when the holiday cups at Starbucks return. These seasonal containers have become a hallmark of the holidays, evoking a feeling of comfort and tradition in coffee customers. Seeing them this year got me thinking about Starbucks, and its evolution over the years. In celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2011, the company decided to redesign their logo. But where exactly did this logo begin?
Starbucks was started in Seattle in 1971. When it came to deciding who or what would serve as the company’s symbol, the city’s waterfront location had Starbucks looking for marine-themed inspiration. The 16th century Siren won out, and the first logo was designed in her honor. The topless, two-tailed Siren (above) was then stamped onto cups with the mission of representing the coffee as irresistible.
In 1987, the logo was altered quite significantly. The color was changed from brown to green and black, and the Siren was refashioned to have her hair covering her breasts. Additionally, the words “Starbucks Coffee” were written in the circle surrounding her. This design served to honor the Il Giornale coffee house, which was started by the current CEO and chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. His purchase of the Starbucks company in 1987 brought about the Siren’s more corporate-friendly image.
In 1992, the logo was changed further, though less significantly. The Siren was cropped, and her navel no was no longer visible.
The 2011 change brought about an even more minimalistic Siren. The words surrounding her were gone, and the entirety of the image became green. This logo honors the history of Starbucks, while promoting the possibilities of its future. Schultz testifies that it shows “the love we have for our coffee, the relationship we have with our partners, and the connection we build with our customers.” His vision for the iconic Siren allows her to represent more than just coffee; it allows her to represent the experience of being a part of the Starbucks community.