Behind the Logo: Starbucks
The story of the Starbucks logo begins at the center. In 1971, when the only Starbucks store was in Pike Place Market in Seattle, the founders desired a symbol that encompassed both the “seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots”. After going through tons of marine books, they found just what they were looking for – the Siren. The “16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid” had both a mystery about her mixed with a nautical theme, and now for over 45 years she has been at the heart of the Starbucks logo.
In the beginning the Siren was topless, and even with complaints, Starbucks kept it. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz explained later that the mermaid “was supposed to be as seductive as the coffee itself”. After awhile, Starbucks began utilizing delivery trucks, which was problematic since their logo was displayed on a huge scale on the trucks. This expansion prompted the first logo change.
When Howard Schultz first became the CEO in 1986, the logo was changed; the Siren’s hair was restyled to cover up the mermaid’s nipples. which was done in 1987. Along with this, the company name was shortened to Starbucks Coffee and the text ring around the Siren changed with it. Just 5 years later in 1992, Starbucks was publicly traded for the first time, but not before another slight change. The Siren’s face became the focal point, giving the mark a more corporate look.
Between 1992 and 2011, when the next logo change occurred, the growth of Starbucks took off like never before. It was put on every cup and people proudly carried their Starbucks cups around as somewhat of a status symbol. Now one of the most recognized brands in the world, Starbucks removed the outer ring in 2011 making the Siren the sole focus of their logo design.
Sources: https://www.starbucks.com/blog/so-who-is-the-siren, http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/how-topless-mermaid-made-starbucks-cup-icon-160396/, https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-meaning-and-story-behind-the-Starbucks-logo