Starbucks Logo


Starbucks is one of the world’s top coffee makers and retailers. Founded in Seattle in 1971, today it has a global network of coffee houses with the number of locations exceeding 23 000.

Starbucks Logo Meaning and History


For a minor fledging coffee shop located in a city with a huge seafaring history, designing an appropriate Starbucks logo was a number-one priority. The founders of the business consulted Terry Heckler, who then ran through a dozen of old marine books and offered an image dating back to the 1500s – a two-tailed mermaid (The Siren) derived from a Norse woodcut dating back from that time. The Starbucks logo history demonstrates how storytelling can contribute to success in the modern world.

starbucks logo meaning

According to the legend, Elynas, the King of Scotland, when crusading Europe, met fairy Pressyne and asked for her hand immediately. She said yes, but there was just one condition: he was not allowed to see her in labor or when bathing their children. He broke the oath when she was giving birth to their triplet daughters, and she went away with all three of them to the land of Avalon. Later, Melusine, the eldest of the daughters, found out how her father had betrayed on his promise and wanted to confine him inside a mountain. To punish her, her mother put a curse on her, and from now on every Saturday she would turn into a serpent from the waist down. When she got married, she had to make a pact similar to the one, which her father had broken: her husband was not allowed to see her bathing on Saturday. He broke the pact and accused her of spoiling his bloodline. Right after that she turned into a huge serpent and went away forever. That is how the mermaid is believed to have appeared.


The first Starbucks symbol featured the mermaid in its original appearance: she was topless and big-breasted. The idea was to make the logo as seductive and the coffee was. Also, the logo was to depict old coffee traders’ nautical lifestyle.

The Starbucks logo contributed to the company’s skyrocketing popularity. However, the Siren’s nudity raised an increasingly tough resentment in the then conservative and puritan society. However, the logo continued to prove its effectiveness as the clientele continued to grow, and the company would disregard criticism. That was the case until the 1980s when the brand expanded from coffee house signs and cardboard cups to Starbucks delivery trucks and massed outdoor advertising.

original starbucks logo

In 1987, Howard Schulz bought the company and came up with a modified logo version. The mermaid was still there, but her breasts were now covered with her long beautiful hair and no longer visible. The innovation made the Starbucks symbol a little more conservative yet even more beautiful. Another modification took place in 1992. The design idea was the same, but the mermaid’s image was cropped to the navel region with the tails now partially visible. Finally, in 2011, the Starbucks logo was modified to its present-day appearance. It looked much simpler, but the Siren was still there, and the loss of some design elements was powerless to stop the rollercoaster.

New Starbucks Logo


The 1987 logo version was a round emblem with a green circle and the company name written in bold white caps. The mermaid was placed in the middle. She stood on the original brown background. The combination of green and brown pretty much reflected a combination of coffee’s roast flavor and growth. The 1992 version was very similar except for the Siren’s cropped depiction and a little different color shades.

The new Starbucks logo is different. In this version, all that is left from the previous one is the core – the exact copy of the mermaid. The brown background was changed to green, and the outer border is gone. With thousands of locations around the world, there is hardly a possibility of mistaking the brand for another one.

Old Starbucks Logo


The 1971 Starbucks logo was a round dark-brown emblem with the Siren’s image in the middle. That was the very first mermaid image version, which raised so much controversy. The mermaid image had been borrowed from an old-time piece of arts, and it had the original sexuality, which was so contrary to the conservative atmosphere, which prevailed at the time. The image was placed in a circle. The outer border featured the company name and those of the products it offered: coffee, tea, and spices.

The old Starbucks logo was in use for sixteen years despite the controversy of the core image. It created a unique mix of folklore storytelling and modernity, as the simplistic approach was quite visible even in that logo version. The old logo is something, without which the company could not have done it!

Font of the Starbucks Logo


In its logo, Starbucks has used the Freight Sans font. It is quite in keeping with the Starbucks logo design trend, which is observable in all its logo versions.