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Starbucks "re" branding

It will be interesting to see how the return of the original starbucks founder Howard Schultz and the return to their orig plan and ideas turns out.

He's had a successful stunt with the system closing for 3 hours to retrain workers in how to make coffee, which generated a lot of PR.

Now the introduction of the new house blend, named after the original starbucks store. But also, surprise! - the original logo is back.

Usually logos and identities get vaguer, cleaner and more abstract as a the MBAs wash/rinse/repeat. Starbucks is going back to the gritty and vaguely obsene logo they launched with.


Deadprogrammer famously detailed the history of the Starbucks logo going back to a 15th century woodcut. The original logo was slightly sanitized, but each corporate revision made it more and more abstract and less recognizable as to what it actually was. My wife said "I had no idea there was even anything inside that circle, I had never looked until you pointed it out to me."

Face logos are great brands but they always seem to get watered down and more cartoony over time. This is the case with a lot of the face logos on food at the grocery store, the original versions were closer to actual faces rather than abstract logos (think chef boy r dee here.)

This happened to KFC with the colonel...he started out as realistic line drawing of Colonel Sanders with the company name - "Kentucky Fried Chicken." After the waves of rebranding stylists were done with him he was an abstract cartoon. They couldn't stop there and abbreviated the company name. You're wouldn't want to realize you're eating FRIED CHICKEN when you're at KFC after all. You probably want to be eating a healthy salad with dressing on the side. That's why you went in there, right??

I bet Dunkins Donuts wishes they could rename themselves "DD". Hmmm, maybe "empty vessel" names aren't so bad after all... :)

Interesting to think about brand identities that get going because they're a little gritty and different and personal, they don't start out whitewashed / washed out, but after getting successful they put on the bland suit. What would the AOL redesigners do to Drudge's site if they bought it?

Comments (4)

I hadn't thought about the content of the Starbucks logo either - it is a bit weird. I wonder if the story has ever been written about how they ended up with a two tailed mermaid as their logo?

Chatting with the local barista, I learned that this is just a temporary move - signaling the "back to the roots" nature of what they are doing. Then the new logo will return to the cups. An interesting move and an overall really good PR/marketing campaign to get people to talk about the (supposed) transformation of the company.

Through this blog the article describes about the logos. This topic is very interesting as well as informative also.


I dont understand why they go after a small cafe in Goteborg, Sweden.


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