What is that Creature on Starbucks Logo?


Ever wonder what is the creature on Starbucks logo? What are those things that the creature is holding? There is a little bit confusion wether its a mermaid or a siren. People always debate about this.

Well, in the research that I’ve done, they are typically called Sirens-both half-bird/half fish while the half-fish-half-women are called mermaids. According to ancient Greeks, both of the creatures like to seduce mariners with songs with sex offer but kill them later than.

The creature holding the two tails on Starbucks logo was actually called Melusine. Appears in European Heraldry, and a French medieval tale. Starbucks logo and history have an interesting story to tell.

The First Starbucks Emblem in 1971Starbucks-first-logo

Starbucks was born in Seattle, Washington in 1971 founded by three partners, english teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker. Starbucks was named after one of the character in the novel Moby-Dick (fiction novel). Starbucks was selling high quality coffee beans and equipment on that time.

Entrepreneur Howard Schultz later joined Starbucks in 1982 as Director of Retail Operation and Marketing. He got an idea and advised the company should sell coffee and espresso drinks as well as beans but his idea was rejected by Starbucks owner.

The Il Giornale Logo


The owner of Starbucks believe the beverage business would distract the primary focus. However, Schultz started coffee bar chain with the name II Giornale  in April 1986.

As you can see, above are the logo of II Giornale, it looks quite similar with Starbucks logo. He said “Our logo reflected the emphasis on speed”. The Il Giornale name was inscribed in a green circle that surrounded a head of Mercury, the swift messenger god.”

 Starbucks  in 1987


In 1987, Starbucks chain was sold to Schult’z II Giornale, then rebranded II Giornale outlet as Starbucks. From that day on, Starbucks began to expand. As the two company merge, Terry come out with the idea to merge the two logos together, keeping the Melusine with her starred crown and made her more minimalistic.

The traditional color of Starbucks logo was changed to green and the logo also inherited the stars from the II Giornale logo. The bare breasts were covered by the Melusine flowing hair and the text in the circular was changed to “Starbucks Coffee”.

The Designer Behind Starbucks Emblem

Doug Fast is one of the designer behind this logo. The first brown logo was designed by his employer in 1971 and he start working with him in January 1974.

The company was then called Heckler/Bowker, but Bowker(the company copy writer) left Heckler/Bowker in 1984 and take on Starbucks full time. Doug Fast also designed the II Giornale logo in 1985.

Besides, he also redesigned the brown color logo to a simpler and stronger logo. The letter on the “Starbucks Coffee” was hand drawn base on the typeface Franklin Gothic. He submitted a red and a green color of the logo, but then Howard pick on the green logo.

Startbucks in 1992


In 1992, the logo of Starbucks went through a minor change. The image of siren was cropped and zoomed. This makes the viewers more focus on the friendly siren faces.



In 2011 the logo was currently redesigned, the logo now entirely features the siren and the text “Starbucks Coffee” was taken out from the logo.

I like the current logo, it feels minimalistic, very impact and friendly. Some people may disagree with the text “Starbucks Coffee” was taken out from the logo and they thinks its a risky move.

Well, I don’t think it is a risky move at all, Starbucks took time to build reputation, besides Starbucks is a big brand. This logo design also marks its 40th year anniversary.

What do you think on Starbucks latest logo?

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