STARBUCKS: How a Topless Mermaid Made the Starbucks Cup an Icon

  • The first Starbucks opened in 1971, the company was a single store in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market.
  • The name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders.
  • As the world’s largest roaster and retailer of specialty coffee, Starbucks has an impressive creative team that worked with Lippincott to create the brand and brand redesigns we all know and love today.
  • Starbucks wanted the logo and visual identity system to say as much about its future as it did in its past.
  • They wanted a program that afforded them the freedom and flexibility to explore the new product, regional and experience opportunities while keeping them in step with their current and future customers.
  • Operating in more than 55 countries, one of the on-going challenges faced by the creative team includes finding a design and branding that will appeal to people worldwide.
  • To meet the challenge, Lippincott developed visual approaches that would deliver on communicating the new positioning and character attributes.
  • In 2011, Starbucks introduced a new identity, branding, and logo.
  • The new logo and packaging focuses instead on the Starbucks siren, bright green color palette, and playing with the size and location of the logo
  • Over the years, Starbucks has continually refreshed their logos and packaging design without losing their core image.
  • The green color scheme, Starbucks siren, and branding have also carried over to their stores, website, online branding, gifts, and all another packaging.
  • Maintaining a logo that features many distinct colors can be costly. Relying on green instead can still provide an eye-catching, colorful option without the clutter of various distinct colors. When a green and white logo is all you need to become instantly recognizable, you know you’ve created successful packaging.
  • Today, the coffeehouse offers much more than just coffee. Their teas, handcrafted beverages, ice creams, fresh food, packaged goods, consumer products, and merchandise have amassed a multi-billion dollar empire.
  • Starting in the ‘90s, the Starbucks coffee cup enjoyed cameos in both TV and film. Carrie Bradshaw took a stylish sip in this 1998 episode of Sex and the City. In 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, tortured assistant Andrea buys Miranda her coffee each morning, bringing it in those perennially fashionable white cups.
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