Starbucks Logo Meaning: Origin, History, Evolution, and Hidden Details

Summary: This is a post on the Starbucks logo meaning, from its origin to key elements to success, and you can design your own logo with an online logo maker.

starbucks logo on the coffee cup

As a giant in the coffee industry, Starbucks has made its success with efforts. Whenever Starbucks is mentioned or reported, you would be immediately reminded of its creative and recognizable green circular Starbucks coffee logo with the twin-tailed mermaid.

As one of the worldwide-known business logos, the Starbucks logo has contributed a lot to the success of the Starbucks brand. In this blog, we will share with you the Starbucks logo meaning and the back of Starbucks logo, from the Starbucks logo history and evolution to its hidden meaning.

What is the Starbucks Logo?

With a traditional and memorable circular logo shape, there is a unique and creative twin-tailed Starbucks mermaid or the Starbucks Siren in the green color, which are all the prominent features of the famous Starbucks logo.

What’s the Origin of Starbucks?

a Starbucks logo on the ad board on the wall

Before exploring the origin of the Starbucks symbol, it’s necessary to get to know how Starbucks become the name of the famous coffee giant. Starbucks states that its name was inspired by the classic maritime tale, Moby Dick, evoking the seafaring tradition of e the early coffee traders.

“Starbucks” comes from the famous American novelist Herman Melville’s masterpiece Moby Dick. There is a character called Starbuck, a reasonable, calm, and overly cautious mate to the captain who loves drinking coffee.

In fact, Starbucks could have been named "Cargo House" or "Pequod," the same name as Captain Ahab's ship in Moby Dick. But when the branding consultant suggested using "Starbo", a mining town from an old 19th-century map, he suddenly thought of Ahab's foil in Moby Dick, Starbuck, which was the origin of the Starbucks brand.

The History and Evolution of the Starbucks Logo

The process of Starbucks logo design is also very interesting. Tyler Krivich from Starbucks has publicly stated that the Starbucks Siren logo was derived from an old marine book.

The old Starbucks logo was designed by Terry Heckler, who was inspired by a 16th-century Scandinavian wood carving of a twin-tailed mermaid with naked breasts and a clearly visible double fishtail. The original Starbucks logo has since been updated over time, and next, we'll share the Starbucks logo evolution story and present the Starbucks logo over the years for you.

Over the past years since its foundation, there are 4 times of updating the Starbucks sign from 1971. The changes are visible and shocking from the Starbucks symbol and the color. Check them one by one now!

Starbucks logo evolytion from 1971 to 2011


In the year of 1971, Terry Heckler designed the original Starbucks logo, with the naked-breast mermaid with two tails. Around the Starbucks lady, there was the text “STARBUCKS, COFFEE AND TEA”. Instead of green, the whole Starbucks design was brown, the color closest to the coffee itself. However, taken as a whole, the old Starbucks logo from 1971 looks more like an illustration than a brand.


Since the first version of the Starbucks logo came out, the Starbucks siren's bared breasts have caused great controversy. For a long time, it was considered to be revealing, enticing, and seductive. Therefore, in the 1987 Starbucks logo design, the Starbucks mermaid was kept in a more conservative form, with only the navel and twin tails remaining.

The distinctive difference in this Starbucks symbol is that the entire circular logo is divided into two layers, with the inner layer still being the brown Starbucks siren, and the outer layer being the prominent white "STARBUCKS COFFEE" lettering on a green background.


In the 1992 edition, the green background and white text on the outermost circle of the logo were retained. The most obvious change is that the Starbucks lady was enlarged to the extent that the double tail was covered up a lot, while the navel part was deleted.


The Starbucks logo of 2011 is the version that is known worldwide today. The overall green tone, no text, only the Starbucks siren in the round logo.

Starbucks Coffee Logo’s Key Elements to Success

a cup of Starbucks logo on the table

1. Controversial Twin-Tailed Mermaid Siren

There are still many people who may not understand why the Starbucks logo is a mermaid with two tails. Many people have question. Who is the Starbucks lady? What does the mermaid mean in Starbucks?

In fact, the Starbucks Mermaid is from Siren, originated from the siren mentioned in Homer's epic poem Odyssey, who would lure passing ships and seafarers with her beautiful voice, causing them to hit the reef and die. Siren's irresistible charm and the cultural significance of making people unconsciously relax also fit the positioning of Starbucks coffee.

2. Distinctive Green Color

The remarkable green color as the Starbucks background is also part makes its logo successful. Now as long as green and coffee are connected together, the one that comes to your mind must be Starbucks.

Unlike the usual habitual thinking, many people will feel that the logo design of coffee should actually be close to the original color of coffee, rather than green. But this is such a novel attempt to use a conspicuous green color, it will make the Starbucks logo a great success.

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In this blog, we have shared the Starbucks logo meaning, from its origin, history, evolution, and its hidden meaning to share with you the key elements of the Starbucks logo’s success. If you want to design a brand logo, you may start with the easy-to-use logo and make Fotor in minutes. Hope you find this blog helpful!