Starbucks Logo Meaning: Deciphering its Significance

By Irene Daraman Written by Irene Daraman Expertise: Technology, Learning, and Money Title: - Author and Freelance Writer Education: - Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of La Salette Work Experience: - Registered Nurse with 10+ years of experience in BPO and healthcare industries - Management position in a Fortune 500 company, driving operational excellence and exceeding targets - Designing and implementing business plans and strategies to promote the attainment of goals, including financial (money matter), technology, and internal learning and development - Patient care coordinator in a California-based private practice - Experience as a personal injury medical records reviewer and demand letter writer in a Texas law firm - 5+ years of content/article writing experience, delivering engaging and informative pieces across various domains About: I am a Registered Nurse with 10+ years of experience in BPO and the healthcare industry. With a specialization in public and community nursing, I possess a deep understanding of patient care. Currently working in a management position at a Fortune 500 company, where I drive operational excellence and exceed targets. I am responsible for using technology at work, and driving learning and development. I am an expert in technology, learning, and money related topics from my corporate work experience. Public Profiles:
Updated on August 4, 2023

The Starbucks logo is one of the most recognizable and iconic symbols in the world. It has evolved over the years, but its core elements have remained consistent, captivating the minds of coffee lovers globally. In this article, we will delve into the Starbucks logo meaning, decipher the symbolism behind its design, and explore how it has influenced the brand’s recognition and perception.

Starbucks coffee logo

Who founded Strabucks?

Starbucks founders are: Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. They opened the first Starbucks house in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971. Originally, the store primarily sold coffee beans and equipment for brewing coffee at home. The company’s early focus was on providing high-quality coffee and fostering a sense of community among coffee enthusiasts. Over the years, Starbucks expanded rapidly and became one of the world’s largest and most recognizable coffeehouse chains.

What was the original name of Starbucks

The original version of Starbucks name was not actually “Starbucks.” When the first Starbucks store opened on March 30, 1971, in Seattle, Washington, it was named Pequod, after the whaling ship in “Moby-Dick.” Then, it was named as “Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.” The founders, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker, intended to sell high-quality coffee beans, tea, and spices to customers. The name was a reflection of the products they offered at that time. Eventually, they dropped “Tea and Spices” from the name, and it became simply “Starbucks Coffee,” as the focus shifted primarily to coffee.

The Starbucks Logo Evolution

The Starbucks coffee logo design, like many great symbols, has undergone several transformations throughout its history. The journey began in 1971 when the company was founded, with the original logo featuring a twin-tailed mermaid or siren, encircled with the words “Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.” Over time, the logo evolved, and in 1987, the siren was simplified, focusing on her captivating face, framed by wavy hair, and eliminating the surrounding text. Here’s the summary of Starbucks logo’s history: 

  1. 1971: Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices store opens in Seattle with the original logo featuring a topless twin-tailed mermaid to represent coffee and tea.
  2. 1987: The company drops “Tea and Spices” from the name, becoming “Starbucks Coffee Corporation.
  3. 1992: The logo was redesign to a more stylized Siren, with her twin tails now obscured by her flowing hair.
  4. 2008– Starbucks tried a rebranding for their 40th anniversary but faced backlash due to their iconic green logo’s popularity. The attempt failed, and they decided to stick with their classic branding.
  5. 2011: Starbucks introduces a simplified logo, removing the outer circle, and featuring only the Siren’s face, representing a modernized brand image.
  6. 2011: The company updates the name to “Starbucks Corporation” to reflect its diverse product offerings beyond coffee.
  7. Present: The green and white Siren logo becomes one of the world’s most recognizable corporate symbols, synonymous with the global coffee giant.

What was the original starbucks logo design?

The original Starbucks logo, when the company first opened its doors in 1971, featured a brown circular design with a detailed image of a twin-tailed mermaid, known as the Siren. The Siren was depicted topless, and her two tails were prominent, symbolizing the company’s initial focus on both coffee and tea. This vintage logo reflected the maritime theme and the rich seafaring history of Seattle, the city where the first Starbucks store was established. Over the years, the logo underwent several revisions, eventually leading to the simplified and iconic green Siren design we recognize today.

What is the Origin of the Siren Tale and its Symbolism?

  • The origin of Siren in the logo

Terry Heckler, a corporate artist and creative partner of one of Starbucks’ founders, wanted an emblem that would connect with the company’s Seattle heritage and its maritime ties. When he stumbled upon an illustration of a Siren from Greek mythology in an old marine book of the 16th century, he saw the perfect representation of the allure and enchantment that coffee could bring. 

  • The Siren’s symbolism 

The Siren’s captivating nature, known for luring sailors  to the shipwreck with her song, mirrored the irresistible appeal of Starbucks’ beverages. This choice made the Siren logo a symbol of adventure and pleasure, encapsulating Starbucks’ mission to provide customers with a delightful and transformative coffee experience. Since then, the Siren has become an integral part of Starbucks’ brand identity, recognizable worldwide.

Who is the Siren in the Starbucks’ logo?

The Starbucks Siren is the captivating figure we often see in the coffee cups at Starbucks. The child of Terry Heckler, the corporate artist and former creative partner of Starbucks co-founder, Gordon Bowker was the inspiration of the logo. The Siren logo has become a symbol of the brand’s allure, representing the enticing experience of Starbucks’ coffee and tea offerings.

Why does Starbucks use a siren as their logo?

The choice to use a siren as the logo is deeply connected to the company’s roots in Seattle, a city with a strong maritime history. The image of a siren pays homage to the seafaring heritage of the region while also encapsulating the idea of exploration and discovery, akin to embarking on a journey to explore the world of coffee. Additionally, the siren’s mythical allure adds a sense of mystery and excitement to the brand, making it stand out in a crowded market.

What is the significance of the green color palette?

Color psychology is crucial for brand perception. Green, as used by Starbucks, represents nature, growth, stability, and health. It aligns with their identity as a coffee company and creates an inviting atmosphere for customers. Strategic use of colors, like green, can attract specific demographics and build a relatable brand.

The iconic green color palette of the Starbucks logo holds multiple meanings. Green is commonly associated with nature, freshness, and growth, reflecting the company’s commitment to using high-quality, ethically sourced coffee beans. It also aligns with Starbucks’ efforts to promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility. The green color palette helps evoke a sense of calm and relaxation, making Starbucks stores inviting and welcoming places for customers to enjoy their favorite beverages.

What symbolizes the Circular Border and Stars in Starbucks’ logo?

  • The circular border 

The Siren’s image was inside a circular border, which signifies unity and continuity, emphasizing the community that Starbucks aims to build around its brand. 

  • Five-pointed stars 

Starbucks stars represent the company’s ambition to bring excellence to its products and services. Moreover, each star symbolizes a different aspect of the brand’s mission: quality, service, community, and integrity.

What is the Starbucks’ logo’s Impact on Brand Recognition?

Effective logos are vital for product sales and company’s success. Researchers analyzed 597 companies and found that descriptive logos, conveying the product type, positively influence brand perception. Starbucks’ simple, distinct logo exemplifies this power, representing a premium coffee experience and building global recognition. The Starbucks logo has played a pivotal role in brand recognition accross the globe. The consistent use of the logo across all Starbucks stores and products has created a strong association with quality and trust, thereby fostering brand loyalty among consumers.

Starbucks coffee beans and white mug

Common Misinterpretations and Myths

Over the years, several myths and misconceptions have emerged about the Starbucks logo. Here are some of the speculations about the logo: 

  1. The mermaid in the logo is associated with Melusine, a cursed figure from folklore.
  2. The logo could be linked to Lilith, a mythical demon with various cultural interpretations.
  3. The logo resembles Dagon, a fish god of the Philistines
  4. There are speculations about hidden symbolism in the logo, but no clear evidence is presented.
  5. The Starbucks logo might represent an upside-down Baphomet, a deity associated with occult symbolism and conspiracy theories.

Please note that these speculations are subjective interpretations and may not hold any factual basis. The Starbucks logo remains primarily a representation of a twin-tailed mermaid or siren, as officially stated by the company.

The Ongoing Starbuck’s Logo Evolution

Despite its enduring appeal, the Starbucks logo has undergone minor modifications to adapt to changing times and trends. These modifications have often involved subtle updates to the siren’s image, refreshing the overall look while preserving the essence of the brand. These changes have been well-received, demonstrating the brand’s ability to balance tradition with modernity.

  • Why did they modify Starbucks’ logo? 

The reasons for the logo modifications have been twofold. Firstly, as Starbucks expanded globally, it faced the challenge of appealing to diverse cultural sensibilities while retaining its core identity. Secondly, as design trends evolved, the logo needed to stay relevant in a fast-paced, ever-changing world.

  • How did it impact the brand’s image? 

By carefully incorporating minor changes, Starbucks has successfully kept its logo fresh and engaging while upholding its brand legacy. This approach has helped the company maintain a sense of familiarity for its loyal customers while piquing the interest of new audiences.

10 fun facts about the logo

  1. The old Starbucks logo evolved from a topless mermaid to the green Siren we know today.
  2. It was named after the character Starbuck from “Moby-Dick.”
  3. The original logo had a two-tailed mermaid, representing coffee and tea.
  4. In 2011, it was redesigned and simplified to a new logo to showcase only the Siren’s face.
  5. The logo’s popularity led to various interpretations and conspiracy theories.
  6. Sometimes, the Siren in the logo is depicted with a crown, symbolizing Starbucks’ coffee dominance.
  7. The logo reflects the company’s growth and commitment to quality.
  8. The green color symbolizes freshness and ethical sourcing.
  9. The Starbucks logo remains an iconic symbol of the coffee giant.
  10. For almost fifteen years, Starbucks only offered free samples of their signature coffee beans brewed to perfection at their locations. Espresso coffee was not part of their menu during this period.

A girl enjoying her starbucks coffee


The Starbucks logo is a masterful example of how a well-designed symbol can become an enduring representation of a brand’s identity. From its mythological origins to its modern-day significance, the siren’s image continues to allure coffee enthusiasts worldwide. The green color palette, circular border, and stars further reinforce the brand’s values and mission. The logo’s impact on brand recognition and loyalty is a testament to its effectiveness as a powerful branding tool. As Starbucks evolves, the logo will undoubtedly continue to evolve, maintaining its position as an iconic emblem of the coffee culture for generations to come.