Starbucks Logo Evolution Explained

The Meaning behind the Starbucks Logo

One cannot talk about Starbucks without conjuring up images of their iconic green circular logo adorned with a twin-tailed mermaid. This logo holds immense significance for the Starbucks brand and has played a vital role in its success. In this blog, we will delve into the history, evolution, and hidden meaning behind the Starbucks logo.

What is the Starbucks Logo?

The Starbucks logo boasts a traditional and memorable circular shape, featuring a unique and creative depiction of a twin-tailed mermaid or the Starbucks Siren. These distinct elements have become synonymous with the renowned Starbucks brand.

The Origin of Starbucks

Before we explore the origin of the Starbucks logo, it is crucial to understand how the name “Starbucks” came to be associated with this famous coffee giant. According to Starbucks, the name was inspired by the classic maritime tale, Moby Dick, which evokes the seafaring tradition of early coffee traders. Herman Melville’s masterpiece depicts a character named Starbuck, a prudent and coffee-loving mate to the captain.

Interestingly, Starbucks could have easily been named “Cargo House” or “Pequod,” after Captain Ahab’s ship in Moby Dick. However, during the branding process, a consultant suggested “Starbo,” a mining town from an old 19th-century map. It was then that the connection to Starbuck, Captain Ahab’s foil in the novel, was made, ultimately giving birth to the Starbucks brand.

The History and Evolution of the Starbucks Logo

The journey of Starbucks logo design is as intriguing as it is captivating. Terry Heckler, the designer behind the original Starbucks logo, drew inspiration from a 16th-century Scandinavian wood carving of a twin-tailed mermaid with exposed breasts and a strikingly visible double fishtail. Since its inception, the logo has undergone various updates, each characterized by its own unique story and visual appeal.

1971: A Modest Beginning

In 1971, Terry Heckler unveiled the first-ever Starbucks logo. It featured the bare-breasted mermaid with two tails, accompanied by the text “STARBUCKS, COFFEE AND TEA.” The color scheme predominantly consisted of brown, reflecting the shade closest to the essence of coffee. Although aesthetically pleasing, the 1971 Starbucks logo appeared more like an illustration rather than a brand identity.

1987: A Shift towards Conservatism

The original Starbucks logo created controversy due to its depiction of the siren’s exposed breasts, which many deemed provocative and seductive. Hence, in the 1987 redesign, the Starbucks mermaid assumed a more conservative form, with only the navel and twin tails remaining visible. Notably, the circular logo was divided into two layers, with the inner layer featuring the brown Starbucks siren and the outer layer showcasing prominent white “STARBUCKS COFFEE” lettering against a green background.

1992: Refinement and Enhancement

In the 1992 edition, Starbucks retained the green background and white text on the outermost circle. However, the most noticeable alteration was the enlargement of the Starbucks mermaid, resulting in a partial concealment of the double tail and the removal of the navel component.

2011: The Modern Day Icon

The Starbucks logo that is recognized and cherished worldwide today was introduced in 2011. This iteration embraced the simplicity of a monochromatic green tone, eliminating any accompanying text and solely featuring the pristine image of the Starbucks siren in the rounded logo.

Key Elements Driving the Success of the Starbucks Coffee Logo

1. The Controversial Twin-Tailed Mermaid Siren

The Starbucks logo’s choice of a mermaid with two tails has often left people wondering about its significance. The inspiration for the Starbucks mermaid can be traced back to the concept of sirens, originating from Homer’s epic poem Odyssey. Sirens were known to mesmerize passing ships and seafarers with their enchanting voices, leading them to meet tragic fates by crashing into reefs. The irresistible allure of the siren, coupled with its association with relaxation, perfectly aligns with Starbucks’ positioning as a coffee brand.

2. The Distinctive Green Color

The vibrant green hue that serves as the backdrop for the Starbucks logo is yet another significant element contributing to its success. Today, the mere association of the color green with coffee immediately evokes thoughts of Starbucks. While convention might suggest that a coffee logo should reflect the actual color of coffee, Starbucks made a novel choice by opting for a conspicuous shade of green. This bold decision has proven instrumental in making the Starbucks logo instantly recognizable and memorable.

Design Your Own Captivating Business Logo

Creating a compelling and recognizable business logo requires careful thought and consideration. Just as Starbucks has mastered the art of logo design, you too can elevate your brand’s visual identity with a captivating logo that captures the essence of your business and resonates with your target audience. By incorporating unique elements and leveraging colors and symbolism effectively, you can create a visually striking logo that sets your brand apart from the competition.


The Starbucks logo has left an indelible mark on the coffee industry, symbolizing the success and recognition that the brand enjoys today. Through the years, the logo has evolved, refining its elements and adapting to contemporary design trends while still retaining the essence of the Starbucks mermaid. From its controversial beginnings to its present-day iconic status, the Starbucks logo serves as a testament to the power of effective branding and visual storytelling.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Was the Starbucks logo always green?

The Starbucks logo has not always been green. In its original iteration in 1971, the logo featured a brown color scheme, reflecting the essence of coffee itself. However, over the years, the logo evolved, and when the iconic green color was introduced, it became synonymous with the Starbucks brand.

Q2: Why did Starbucks change its logo?

Starbucks has made several logo changes throughout its history with the aim of refining its brand identity and adapting to evolving design trends. These logo updates have helped Starbucks maintain relevance, enhance brand recognition, and reflect the growth and transformation of the company over time.

Q3: What font is used in the Starbucks logo?

The Starbucks logo does not incorporate any specific font. Instead, the prominent “STARBUCKS COFFEE” lettering in the logo is custom-designed and unique to the brand, helping to establish a distinct and recognizable visual identity.

Q4: What is the significance of the Starbucks siren?

The Starbucks siren, derived from the concept of sirens in Greek mythology, represents allure, enchantment, and the relaxing experience associated with enjoying Starbucks coffee. It serves as a visual representation of the brand’s commitment to providing a delightful and enticing coffee experience to its customers.

Q5: How has the Starbucks logo influenced the success of the brand?

The Starbucks logo has played a significant role in shaping the success of the brand. With its memorable imagery and distinctive green color, the logo has become instantly recognizable, fostering brand loyalty and ensuring that Starbucks remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds when it comes to coffee. The logo’s evolution has showcased Starbucks’ ability to adapt and captivate its audience, solidifying its position as a global coffee giant.