New Starbucks logo stripped down to the Siren

Starbucks unveiled an updated version of their logo this past week, removing the words ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Coffee’, focusing solely on their twin-tailed mermaid, the Siren.

It seems that anytime a well known company changes their logo, the web comes alive with people eager to voice an opinion. I thought it would be interesting to wait a few days to see how this change in branding went down online, and whether it would be a negative response as quite often happens now.

When companies such as Starbucks make big changes to their logo, they expect to get a great deal of attention, or at least they hope to. Though sometimes the attention is not always welcome, as seen recently with the Gap debacle, which saw them launch a new logo, receive negative reactions on a massive scale, and then revert back to their previous logo.

Starbucks however, from what I’ve seen online, have not faired as badly. Although there has been a mixed response, with several polls favouring the old logo, there were many positive reactions too, especially from within the design community.

'Starbucks logos from 1971 to 2011
Starbucks logos on cups
'Starbucks cup on table

Images courtesy of Starbucks.

Personally, I’m in favour of the changes to Starbucks identity, the clean look of the logo very much appeals to me and is easier on the eye. The previous logo had become so well known, that the association between Starbucks and the Siren was enough that they felt she could be used on her own, without the name.

I can appreciate why the company wanted to make this change now, not only does it tie in with their 40th anniversary, but more importantly it allows the logo to be used to represent more than just coffee. Which the business has already started to do and appears to want to pursue more in the future.

With any rebrand, there will be people that love it and those that hate it. I think in this case the ones that loved it, or at the least didn’t hate it, were enough to oppose those with negative opinions.

I do however feel it’s wise not to judge a rebrand so quickly, as any changes need time to become established. It can often seem that bold changes to well known brands will be met with opposition, especially when going by the results of online polls and the like. It’s probably just human nature to be resistant to change and cling on to what is familiar. Though personally, I’m pleased Starbucks were brave enough to make the changes they have.

About the author

Paul Galbraith is a logo and brand identity designer, working with startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK, USA and beyond.