Starbucks unveils new logo

US coffee giant Starbucks has unveiled a new identity created by its in-house design team and studio Lippincott. It centres on the Siren logo and does away with the words “Starbucks” and “coffee”

US coffee giant Starbucks has unveiled a new identity created by its in-house design team and studio Lippincott. It centres on the Siren logo and does away with the words “Starbucks” and “coffee” altogether…

The ‘Siren’ figure has been part of the Starbucks identity since the company launched in 1971 and this latest redesign ties in with their 40th anniversary. The new logo essentially takes the Siren out of her ringed frame (see previous iterations of the identity, below), changes the background colour to Starbucks green and removes all text – perhaps a nod to the fact that the company now sells a range of other products in addition to coffee. The identity will be rolled out across all branches in March.

“From the start, we wanted to recognise and honour the important equities of the iconic Starbucks logo,” writes ‘Mike P’, the company’s senior creative manager.

“So we broke down the four main parts of the mark – colour, shape, typeface and the Siren. After hundreds of explorations, we found the answer in simplicity. Removing the words from the mark, bringing in the green, and taking the Siren out of her ring. For forty years she’s represented coffee, and now she is the star.”

The next step was to bring in a “more sophisticated stroke width and spacing and a smoother line flow.” The Siren’s hair and facial features were apparently also refined.

The question is, in light of last year’s most infamous logo debacle could the new Starbucks ever ‘do a Gap’? I very much doubt it. Despite the dissent already emerging on the company’s website from largely negative commenters – not to mention the need to monitor their 1.1m followers on Twitter – one thing that stands out is that Starbucks has ensured the big reveal is shown in context; on a paper cup.

It sounds obvious, but when the Gap identity announced itself to the world online, it was the same old decontextualised jpg that people were posting, emailing and generally taking apart. Starbucks has already countered the ‘you have to see it in the flesh’ argument by simply showing it in the way most people will engage with it. And doesn’t it seem all the better for that?

More details on Starbuck’s new identity can be found on their website, here. And on

Subscribe online and save 29%
Subscribe to Creative Review and access the entire CR online back catalogue plus regular subscriber only content…
  • Richard Brown

    This feels like I’m looking at another of these:

    Simple, yet effective.

  • Did not like the corporate babble to justify the logo to the customers: “our new brand identity will give us the freedom and flexibility to explore innovations and new channels of distribution that will keep us in step with our current customers and build strong connections with new customers”.

  • Pity they haven’t improved what goes IN the cup.

  • Each evolution is a slightly tighter and gently simplified version of it’s ancestor. I imagine, with Starbucks expanding it’s global engagement —both offline and online— it made sense to ditch the Latin characters for a universally understood mark. Unlike their lattes, I like it. This is a perfect example of natural progression.

    Also, I have a warm cuddly feeling that we won’t be seeing any ridiculous @newstarbuckslogo twitter accounts anytime soon.

    Good job guys!

  • I like the now re-freshed logo. the siren is so strongly tied to starbucks that we don’t need to be told who it represents, we already know. I think this is a great job by the in-house design team. def a lot sleeker than the current version. can’t wait to see it in the flesh!

  • mogwai

    Like the idea, just wish they’d taken the opportunity to something about the awkwardness of the ‘siren’ illustration. Or is that part of the charm?

  • “Pity they haven’t improved what goes IN the cup.” (2011-01-06 09:48:42)

    You said it all George!

    Howard Schultz says they are the leading provider of the “highest quality coffee” ( I don’t agree, but if he wants his brand to transpire it, they should be more careful with standards and stop serving their coffee in paper cups as the default in first place. He won’t be given paper plates to eat on in most of restaurants, not mentioning the “highest quality” ones…

    Personally I think, the evolved logo looks nicer but it will add nothing useful to the brand. The core of Starbucks, as a brand, should be the coffee and the experience instore, the logo doesn’t addresses none of those. The only benefit would be saving some money on printing (1 colour).

  • Val

    For me this is worse than the Gap logo shenanigan.
    Even though it looks better, it is much more destructive for the company itself.
    Very irresponsible and “design hubris” all over. To think that everyone in the world already knows and recognize the word Starbucks is just stupid. I have met some older generation that wasn’t aware of the brand and the name, especially in new markets. As time goes by the younger generation will not know the name anymore also.

    As a visual person it’s hard to admit, but for most people the wording of a logo is more important than the visual. It’s not only how it looks but also how it sounds in the head.

    This is just people in an organization needing to justify they’re existence and forcing a change that is not required at all. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke.

    Visually the removal of the black is also a big mistake, makes it wicker and less recognizable.

  • I like how it the depth of the logo feels as though it’s just about to cave in on itself. I think this is a great step forward, It’s not easy trying to change a logo as drastically as this & get away with it. Very bold move dropping the company name though!

  • n

    I don’t dislike the new one, but I prefer the old. The old one is just so iconographic that I actually feel the new one dilutes the brand. But at least it’s an evolution and not another GAPgate.

    And @Culture Revolution …

    Agreed 100%, that blurb makes me feel sick. What moron writes this stuff and thinks it sounds good? Is it the same moron that writes all this shit? Customers won’t understand it and industry folk will think it’s pretentious and empty. Aside from the fact it’s just a collection of words and means absolutely nothing, I feel it acts to make them look like tools.

    I would have gone for something that actually had some context. I would have thought the biggest selling point being that it uses less ink to print (or at least fewer colours) and therefore is doing a favour to the environment – which is a big deal in the paper cup industry which is where the vast majority of their printed logos probably end up.

  • Pah, it’s fine. Just more evidence that company’s like Starbucks no longer need to rely on the product, inasmuch as their brand.

  • n

    “Howard Schultz says they are the leading provider of the “highest quality coffee” ( I don’t agree,”

    Don’t worry, you don’t have to disagree. It’s just a completely false statement, like saying the sky is pink or that cats are made of cheese.

    Starbucks are barely mid-quality coffee (they don’t even win against their direct competitiors in terms of quality), but then maybe this guy has never had a decent coffee before.

  • bert

    the whole reason for 80% of people bying a cup (and o fcourse go on the street with it)
    was because it has this logo on it. Not the coffee in it!

    what a shame. they fucked up a nice logo again

  • n


    “Visually the removal of the black is also a big mistake, makes it wicker and less recognizable.”

    Agreed it isn’t as strong, but dropping a pantone will save them a fortune. That’s the smartest thing about the logo change and I’m sure one the of principle drives behind it.

  • dman

    Dreadful change. I certainly don’t associate the “siren” with Starbucks so would be quite puzzled by this without the words. (mind i never drink their pig swill anyway). Makes me think of a fish restaurants rather than anything else. It’s not even very well executed either.

  • It was a pretty big step to remove the name of the company after so many years.
    The single colour green almost looks too bright now without the black inside.
    It will be interesting to see how it looks on their shop fronts, on the cup it looks good though.

  • chadley

    Totally agree with dman above.

    The siren image was always the weaker part of the previous logos. I think it was the chunky iconic text that was most recognizable. To leave the siren as a standalone logo seems a mistake.

    If they brought out starbucks biscuits with just this logo on them, would people recognize them as starbucks biscuits? Doubt it.

  • bubbles

    What was wrong with the old logo? I loved the old one. It’s iconic, vintage feel made half the idea of the brand and their coffee shops… It was sort of part of why me and my friends went in the first place! Fair enough, the standalone siren says people already know the brand – but not everyone does! and it would be silly to assume they do seeing as there will be newer generations who will grow up with Starbucks around, but we all know kids don’t drink coffee! Now it just looks like just another cheap ish, average brand. If you’re gonna advertise saying ‘quality coffee’ put it in an expensive looking cup that gives consumers the feeling of it not just being any other coffee. The previous logo looks more exclusive. We all know it isn’t, but it’s definitely got a bit more class… and The Siren isn’t the star of Starbucks Coffee. I’ve never associated the siren with Starbucks. I didn’t even really pay attention to the fact it was a siren at all. It was “Starbucks” that always got me excited. The name itself is the star. That’s what should be printed on the cups!

  • Nice evolution of the brand identity. Much prefer it to the previous design with the wording incorporated. The new logo design is braver and bolder, yet the flowing vector lines feel more elegant and refined. Just as potent as the earth trembling 5-shot Americano I suppose. Alluding nicely to the purity of the rocket fuel itself. Its credit to the strength of a brand, when they have earned the right over the years, to represent themselves solely by their graphic symbol, which is already synonymous with their product. Great post thanks! Might as well have another coffee.

  • Nobody nows what this siren is about. I think they shouldn’t have changed the logo at all, but , if they wanted to simplify, perhaps it would be better to do something like this:

  • Fei Kao

    She was a bird-woman, but looked more like fish(tails?) in the drawing.

  • Rich

    Haven’t Starbucks started opening new chains not displaying the Starbucks name/brand because people were put off by the corporate nature and wanted independent coffee shops with a community feel:

    Perhaps dropping the name and and relying on just the image takes them back to their origins and is an attempt to feel like a smaller brand again?

  • Hmm. They need to look at improving their coffee to a level above dishwater before they rework their logo…

  • Bytecreek

    I liked the old logos but guess it takes time to get used to new stuff! It is definitely bold to get rid of starbucks on the logo.

  • Let’s not forget about the expense of retrofitting all of the
    stores with this new identity. It amazes me that in these financial times where
    many of us (most in the creative industry) are still struggling,
    giants like Starbucks can allocate millions and millions and millions
    of unnecessary spending. While I actually quite like the refinements of
    the mark, I think it was irresponsible. Additions to their Fair Trade program,
    a company wide enhanced energy-use policy or some other sustainable gesture
    leveraged by their “enormousness,” to me, would have
    been a more attractive move.

  • Starbucks should put a real siren on the cup, that goes off when you drink it. Horrid stuff.

  • stu

    Good point VAL, there is something vitally important about reading a name in your head… maybe not essential on every piece of company product, but as the main identity, dropping the text seems a bold move… i liked reading STARBUCKS.

  • Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
    George Orwell’s words were never more apt than here.

  • Ed Wright

    I think it’s great – a green circle on a cup/mug is Starbuck’s strongest brand element, and this is a classy evolution of that. Starbucks now have their own Swoosh or Golden Arches and similarly I’m sure we will see it with and without supporting type.

  • I agree with Val, it’s hubris and shortsightedness to remove the text from the logo. For sure, current customers know the Siren is Starbucks. New ones don’t. That’s so obvious it hurts.

    As a natural progression it’s graphically beautiful, but from a marketing standpoint it’s suicide.

    Bet the text is back this time next year, if not sooner!

  • I have to disagree with those who feel that the ‘Siren’ intrinsically represents Starbucks to its fans – everyone I have spoken to so far has never even noticed the young lady who has been ‘trapped’ in the circle since day one.

    Declaring that the text is now redundant smacks of arrogance and likening the new ‘bold’ logo to the famous Swoosh and Golden Arches falls short to me – Starbucks is officially punching above its weight.

  • It makes sense to evolve and that’s all Starbucks have done in terms of logo and business development. If they’re selling only coffee it makes sense to have that mentioned in the logo – the premise some might say. But, now they are going to be selling beer and wine (in US stores) it makes sense to have a logo that reflects that.

  • It makes sense to evolve and that’s all Starbucks have done in terms of logo and business development. If they’re selling only coffee it makes sense to have that mentioned in the logo – the premise some might say. But, now they are going to be selling beer and wine (in US stores) it makes sense to have a logo that reflects that.

  • I think the most important aspect to note is that this decision demonstrates how useful it is to build equity in a symbol rather than a name alone. It takes a lot of time, money and exposure to be able to drop a name, but a symbol can travel much further – geographically, cross-language, cross-portfolio and cross platform. Globally, a symbol can live more successfully than a name or a way of writing a name.

    The symbol, from a visual point of view, is much more ‘fit for a moving world’. I suppose, for Starbucks, the Siren is their lead mnemonic. Furthermore, there’s conversation about going ‘beyond logo or symbol’ and owning another type of mnemonic; a sound or a movement or a gesture, for example, the apple pinch and swipe or the Flipboard Flip. If your brand can be recognised by something as simple and instinctive as a movement, then you’re a gateway rather than a stamp… and can go anywhere.

  • Will Tyler

    I actually quite like it. The new logo appears to be part of a larger branding project so (in my opinion) makes sense to combine it with a refresh. If the idea is to include it with a wider range of products – ice cream etc it seems logical to step away slightly from imagery associated purely with coffee. I think Ed Wright mentioned the Nike swoosh. I’m sure when the word ‘Nike’ was first dropped people would have questioned the rational behind the decision. Of course it all depends on how well the brand marketing works (or doesn’t) but if the brief was to refresh the logo without losing the identity completely then for me it’s job done.

  • I think this is really a case of a naked parading emperor to be honest.

    Essentially the designer who did this has basically removed the text roundel and then changed the logo to green from black. That is pretty much it really from what I can tell. I know that the article mentions that the Siren’s hair and facial features were refined, but from what I can see this is fairly minimalistic stuff.

    Personally I think, whilst a lot of the design community make a pile of money from these kind of ‘re-designs’ for large clients with more money than sense, it’s pretty close to pulling a fast one at best. I don’t know what the firm charged Starbucks in this case, but I’d reckon that, allowing for a one hour initial meeting with the client in central London, the time to make the changes, (two hours tops + two hours thinking time) and a hour meeting to present the work back to them in central London, at a rate of £50.00ph you’d be looking at around £300.00.

    Any more than this and, if I was the client, I’d really start to wonder what exactly I’d paid for.

    There again, what do I know? I don’t have a glamourous office with an Italian designer sofa and a glugging coffee machine in Covent Garden, I just produce good quality, cost effective graphic design for print for companies, charities and NGOs who don’t have money to waste.

  • Claire

    I’m not a designer – As for my opinion on this design I believe it is a cleaner look and lets face it when you are briefed by a client you pretty much have to stick to it so for me not the designer at fault if you don’t like it. You guys are in an industry where everyone is going to have an opinion on your hard work but its the brief which is your master. For me not much movement! They have an identity and it would be a sad day not to feel like I know my coffee!

  • Alain

    Clients don’t just pay for a new logo artwork.
    They pay as well for say it’s implementation, which is a lot of hard work.
    And I’m not keen on this patronising view that clients should know better. As a matter of fact, they DO know better and have a better understanding of their positioning and strategy – which most of us are unaware of.
    Maybe it doesn’t look right to some designers, but maybe it is right for coffee drinkers.

  • Dan Mawdesley

    I agree with @Val. Have they forgotten about emerging markets and been too busy naval gazing. There’s a definite trend in ads / design to remove any kind of copy. It seems counter intuitive when we’re all searching for the best way of reaching our audience and the media landscape’s so fragmented. I love the post rationalisation, it’s a toss up between this and the Rio 2016 justification for the largest stack of bovine waste. This also happens when clients are fooled into believing they’re one of the design team and don’t want to appear out of touch or have the bottle to say, “Er hang on a minute..”. Usually happens a few weeks into the process shen they suddenly rock up in onitsuka tigers!

  • Ben C

    Hey Michael Preston,

    Did you even read the article?
    It was done by Starbucks in house design team.

    Lord give me strength.

  • Starbuck’s new logo makes strategic sense, freeing the company from a direct association with coffee, whilst retaining one of the most ownable elements of its identity. In its previous logo, the Starbucks name (referencing the intelligent, thoughtful, moderate character in Moby Dick) encloses and provides balance to the Siren, the mythological representation of impulsive, irresistible temptation.

    The new logo’s focus only on the Siren alludes to a subliminal, compelling desire – surely a powerful archetypal metaphor for any brand? And by downplaying its more rational side, Starbucks is acknowledging – or perhaps wryly commenting on – a culture that is now more about the desire to ‘have it all, now’ than rational, balanced moderation.

    Bringing more clarity and simplicity to the logo, by focusing on a single element that symbolises a powerful emotion, is arguably a positive step forward.

  • Ed Wright

    @ Dan Mawdsley: Naval gazing? As in looking at boats? Fnarfnar.

    @ Michael Preston: Oh come on. You’d have to be very naive to not think of all the thought, implementation and guidelines that go along with a brand (not just a logo) redesign. The finished logo on a cup is just the tip of a whole iceberg of hard work.I think someone’s bitter that they don’t have an Italian sofa…

  • Some excellent comments…and far removed from the usual ‘it’s just awful’ comments that you get elsewhere. Moving Brands sums it all up very well.

  • Massimo

    it star-sucks

  • Mark Roberts

    This is very much in the vogue of simplifying iconic logos for the modern world, eg: Body Shop etc, but I have to agree with others that it doesn’t work in this case because the roundel letters and stars where at least equal if not more iconic in the original logo than the figure which I think a lot of people didn’t really consciously register.

  • I think they are just covering up the fact they want to print one colour to cut costs. The new logo lacks substance now. They need all the PR they can get to help people recognise it is still them!

  • Still no nipples!

  • I am liking it. Always enjoy logos with one colour on white :)

  • I am liking it. Always enjoy logos with one colour on white :)

  • I believe the persistent defacing of the logo may have some relevance to the redesign:

  • The evolution of an identity is a different thing to creating the identity in the first place. From a designers point of view it’s great to be in a position to be able to do this. Sure the basic considerations apply, but to already have a solid market awareness and perception of the brand will bring more creative freedom. I’d be interested to see what impact the changes have.

  • n

    @Michael Preston

    What a ridiculous comment.

    So the value of design work is how much of the design you change?

    Absolute tosh. Design is generally about making people money, not making things look different. The cost of this exercise would have been costed based on the potential advantages it would bring, not on the number of pixels they can fit on the cup.

  • Julie Strawson

    Will anyone notice I wonder? Does it justify the time and expense? Hard to judge without a feel for how they’ll fully implement it. Fine for those that have been used to seeing them around 40 years but not sure how they’ll drive awareness of the name to new customers.

    Ah well there are plenty of examples of symbols that work without brand name suport aren’t there? Er…

  • noel douglas

    Seriously who cares, yes they are a big corporate company, but that’s the problem ain’t it? I don’t want to see the logo AT ALL, I don’t want my high street to be full of corporate chains, this is just a cynical ploy to pretend that a huge corporate coffee chain company–that doesn’t even make good coffee–is some hippy thrift store…

    Bullshit in other words, and designers who love their brains should stop being so dumb as to care about another corporate makeover

  • Perhaps they were just tired of anarchist types turning ‘STARBUCKS COFFEE’ into F**K OFF.

  • Pau

    Detractors used to change the B for an F and I’m sure that reason weighed as much as ohers. The ilustration doesn’t work so well withouth the ring frame. The have not taken the siren out of the frame, they have simple eliminated the frame. Very poor work indeed!

  • Starbucks Coffee. Still a bit of a branding mug?

    Starbucks has decided to modify aspects of its visual identity (name / logo) and in-store brand experience. The name Starbuck’s Coffee has been dropped to leave the current logo of a siren (errr, that’s just a mermaid to you and me). The famous Starbucks mugs are to be replaced by bone China no less. Starbucks made these changes because Starbucks it wants to expand its brand’s presence in groceries (where it already sells tea and ice creams) whilst responding to increasingly sophisticated coffee consumers and stiff high street competition.

    Wavelength’s view? From a visual side this branding heavy weight may have taken three steps one once. Removing the name, the word coffee and the logo. Bad move. If the brand wants to spread its brand wings beyond coffee removing the word “coffee” from the name / logo makes sense. Not many people say I’ll have a Starbuck’s coffee now. The word coffee is redundant and in Starbuck’s case is strategically restrictive.

    Two issues are of note……

    First, why remove the name Starbucks? The brand equity surrounding this name is huge ($3,339m according to Interbrand’s 2010 survey). Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

    Second, when you look at the logo can you honestly say that you ever paid any attention to it? Probably not. Closer inspection of the logo begs the question “what does it mean?” Strong logos are metaphors for meaning. They convey a concept, promise or deeper meaning and ‘work’ for the brand in this way. Citi bank and the umbrella indicating protection is a classic example. I do wander what the Starbuck’s Siren is intended to signify. Now the text has gone the logo will have to work harder to convey the brand concept. Much harder. We wonder if it works at all. Starbucks should have phased out the word ‘coffee’, established the brand and its name in new markets using its current visual identity. It is debatable if the name Starbucks should ever be phased out given its equity. It if is this still leaves the problem of a logo which appears to have very little metaphorical meaning. It leaves me thinking. What’s the brand concept and how does this logo convey that. Answer. Don’t know.

    However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Starbuck’s clearly understands the role of other tangible cues as a part of delivering its brand experience. This is why it’s phasing out the mugs. Yes, they may remove themselves from that homely feel so cleverly created by the sofas, papers and scrumptious cakes. If they want to go slightly up market I suspect similarly conspicuous changes will happen in their outlets. Modifications to art, menu and music may all be examples of how the brand experience is taken up market.

    Final comment. The re-appointed Starbuck’s CEO, Donald Shultz says this is a “meaningful update”. I just wonder if it’s an exercise in explicit management control.
    Lets watch this space and hope Starbuck’s isn’t another Gap waiting to happen. It may mean the Starbucks mugs can still be found elsewhere.

  • Jack W

    I don’t quite get the obsession with simplifying things… I liked the text, it had a certain old school feel to it – people love the Starbucks brand, the new logo is fine, but I don’t think there was any real need to simplify it… I don’t think people were tiered of the old one – and the text and two stars in the circle was possibly the most iconic part of the logo in the first place

  • I like it. It’s simplified and starbucks is about as recognizable as nike or target or pepsi or what have you now. A lot of these comments are kind of silly though:

    1. It was done by their in-house team, not an outside firm. Say what you will about starbucks, but they have a great in house team.

    2. People complaining about cost during a financial crisis aren’t thinking it through. Starbucks changes out most of their in-store signage seasonally, most likely the new logo will be implemented then. And like others have said, less colors = less cost.

    3. If you think people won’t recognize the logo without the circle then I think you are underestimating people. There are many brands that only use text when necessary. And most likely the text will still be somewhere in the store, it’s not like they’re going nameless.

  • nice, love it, clean and simple great logo,

  • Tim Farrer

    Doing away with the star bucks words partially/literally does away with their bad name as a company. It’s a shame they can’t make a decent coffee. Lovexx

  • Pretty bold stuff, if I’d seen the siren out of context I wouldn’t have instantly thought of Starbucks, but I don’t use them everyday. Graphically speaking it’s super strong imho.

  • Pete

    Definitely should have brought back the breasts. Maybe next time?

  • MLA

    This is not Design or Branding but Globalisation 2.0
    Starbucks brews a fresh strategy for India entry
    The language barrier is bypassed if everything is an image stripped of all historical/cultural meaning. And as Sonia (2011-01-07 14:41:42) noted earlier, printing one colour saves on costs, as does getting rid of other overheads such as mugs etc.

  • Werner Zeiss

    Another needless change. Looks much less substantial, authoritative, and classy without the black and circle. But that might just be the perfect representation of their mediocre coffee. Why bother?

  • I like the evolution towards simplicity. There mark has always been very strong in my opinion. It is a good example how powerful a good branding program can be where your brand can adapt over the years and not have to include your name or descriptor. well done

  • Dave O

    new logo = delete the text and circles around the illustration.

    That’ll be $100,00 please

  • Julie C

    Well. Not sure about this one.
    SImplicity is always nice but I really feel like there is something missing when I look at this.
    If they were to launch today with it I would say love it, but I just feel like there is so much equity in what they already have that I can’t get past it.
    Just an opinion…….

  • MLA

    Worth a read: ‘Branding Should Have A Backbone’—J. Jason Smith

  • actually don’t mind it, even though there’s a strong rationale for having the text (and the treatment of it always looked somehow ‘American’)

  • There is not real purpose for the re-imaging of the logo but it doesn’t not affect the brand in any way or add to it. It have more health concsious emotion behind it.

  • well if it has any effect on the quality of the coffee then I am all for it otherwise it doesn’t make much difference. I am already trying out Dunkin Donuts…