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  • New Starbucks Brand Identity – Less is More?

    Identity / Logo Design

    New Starbucks Brand Identity – Less is More?

    Jan 06

    Starbucks have just revealed their new brand identity, showing a simplified, ‘less is more’ approach.
    They have removed the name and any reference to ‘coffee’ altogether and refined the ‘Siren’ choosing to place her in green on white.

    This is quite a step and change for a brand of this size, removing the name alone is a bold move and one that must have been carefully considered. As you can see from the ‘Illustrated History’ below this change from the design in ’92 to today is very different.

    At first I was unsure about it, has the removal of so much weakened the identity, diluted it?
    Only time will tell, but its certainly a big move for the company and one that won’t go unnoticed both in the design community and on the high street.

    Here’s what Starbucks had to say over on Starbuck blog:
    “When we first heard about the possibility of modifying the Starbucks brand identity, our minds went wild with the possibilities. This was the project of a lifetime. The designers here at Starbucks have such a love for this brand – it’s what drives our creativity.
    From the start, we wanted to recognize and honor the important equities of the iconic Starbucks logo. So we broke down the four main parts of the mark – color, shape, typeface and the Siren. After hundreds of explorations, we found the answer in simplicity. Removing the words from the mark, bringing in the green, and taking the Siren out of her ring. For forty years she’s represented coffee, and now she is the star. ”
    You can read more about the design process and thinking behind the work over at the Starbucks site.
    So what do you think?
    Less is more or is this a step too far, can we expect a ‘Gap’ like outcry?


    Leave a Comment:

    (7) comments

    Charles Moses

    may be its just me, but I never noticed the siren in any of the logo. The thing that stood out more was the word Starbucks. THe new logo is a very daring move by starbucks, one that I dont agree with completely, but does it matter? If I did not hear about this news, and found a starbucks cup with the new logo, I would have never associated with starbucks, it looks more like a grocery/drive thru coffee place trying to emulate a round logo similar to that of Starbucks.
    Since starucks sells more than just coffee, they could have removed jut the word coffee. In my opinion the word Starbucks should remain, just my $0.02


    I like it. Bold move. After 40 years, Starbucks must feel the brand is established enough to live independently of the wording. Think Shell, Nike etc and it enables them to cross sell/upsell across other product ranges. It will also work well cross border, reducing costs as it removes need for costly translation of words. Brand equity ie the ‘value’ of a brand has a monetary value put on it when sold, or in a merger or acquisition. Until then it matters to the in-house marketers who will have given much thought to this.


    @Penny – I’d certainly be interested to hear your daughters opinion on the new identity, especially from the point of view of a previous staff member Penny. Make sure you stop by and lets us know her thoughts.
    @Jeremy – Many have said they didn’t register the name before, I too think it’s a positive step though, lets see what happens 🙂
    Thanks for contributing guys!
    .-= Gareth Coxon´s last blog ..Star Wars Posters – Re-imagined =-.


    “maybe in the US they can stand toe-to-toe with the other icon only brands (McDonals, Apple & Nike) but to what people have said to me is in Europe they don’t have the recognition – why? Because they haven’t done no where as much marketing and advertising as the others and so I feel this makes it weaker.”
    @Gary a good point, they aren’t as well established in the UK and they certainly don’t really advertise on any scale other than their store fronts.
    I too will be watching the way this new identity is used across other material with interest. Thanks for stopping by Gary.
    .-= Gareth Coxon´s last blog ..Star Wars Posters – Re-imagined =-.


    From a “brand” point of view I totally see where Starbucks are moving. Agree if you are expanding beyond your core product then to remove the product name is obvious. Some of the corporate rational given on the website is sadly just corporate drivel – no logo makes me want to buy anything. The big question is just by changing your logo/identity doesn’t mean you have changed your brand. The things that Starbucks have done well is the simplicity and ownership of colour. My feeling on it though is that it looks like a “work in progress”, it has a look of basicness rather than simplicity, maybe in the US they can stand toe-to-toe with the other icon only brands (McDonals, Apple & Nike) but to what people have said to me is in Europe they don’t have the recognition – why? Because they haven’t done no where as much marketing and advertising as the others and so I feel this makes it weaker. I’m interested to see how it develops online/website as in theory potential to really bring it to life, but I have a feeling we will just see it sat in the corner quietly. Really do hope I’m wrong on that though as I hate to see this potential go to waste. So far I would give Starbucks 7/10, still think there is more to come…


    @Suraj – I think its a grower like you say Suraj, it’s quite a bold step currently but I think it will make more sense when people get used to it.
    I agree that they have gone down the route of removing the text elements and focusing on the graphic, in a similar way to ‘Nike’ who heavily use just their ‘swoosh’ symbol.
    I’m not sure that they are quite ready to do that but in terms of design I think it works well.
    @Katie / @ Anand – I’m not sure removing the text is a big problem, when you go into Starbucks and order a coffee you know you’re in StarBucks ordering a coffee. Only thing they may lose abit of is the brand recognition outside of their shops.
    That said I think that the actual green of Starbucks is their strongest brand asset and they have chosen to highlight this by removing all black.
    Smart move I think. It will be interesting to see how they use the new brand identity across other media.
    Thanks for the comments!


    My first impression is that I don’t like it, but am sure it will grow on me eventually.
    It sort of shows Starbucks’ confidence that people will know their brand without having to have their name on their branding anymore, not a bad position to be in to have instant recognition, similar to the Nike logo I guess.
    .-= Suraj´s last blog ..John Carlton’s Simple Writing System &amp Stan Dahl’s Copywriting Workshop – What I Learned =-.

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