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Starbucks Logo: Past and Present

We’ve all seen the green Starbucks logo on their white take-out cups. This recognizable icon has become part of our American culture. The brand has grown to symbolize our membership in the cool kids camp, those who can hang out with friends at Starbucks and afford the daily splurge on $5 caffé lattes.

When Starbucks started over 40 years ago, the company’s owner’s wanted a logo to reflect it’s seafaring history at its Seattle waterfront location. The original 1971 design was adopted from a woodcut based on ancient Greek mythology that featured a topless, two-tailed mermaid. The mermaid is holding her marine tails, one in each hand, up to her shoulders in what could be considered a provocative pose. Starbucks was deliberately trying to seduce its customers by associating the exotic nature of the logo to its coffee.

History of the Starbucks Logo Design


Apparently, some complained about the logo’s risqué design, which only became more of an issue once the logo was enlarged and put on delivery trucks. When Starbucks was sold in the mid-80s, the new owners revised the logo by lengthening the hair to cover the bare breasts. The design further evolved when Starbucks became a public corporation. Most of the arms were removed, leaving the suggestion of the tails. The newest logo, which features a smiling woman with long wavy hair, is really a family-friendly version of its original self. What do you think the next version will look like?


The bottom of my coffee mug from Seattle showing the original logo.



One Comment

  1. Nicole Judge wrote:

    This is really interesting. I knew a little about Starbuck’s history, but I did not know that the company was from Seattle’s waterfront.

    Friday, November 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink