How The Starbucks Logo Has Changed Over The Years

How The Starbucks Logo Has Changed Over The Years

How The Starbucks Logo Has Changed Over The Years

Starbucks has become a household name. The coffee giant has grown its empire to span over 25,000 locations across the world. In those years, the Starbucks logo has changed four times. What most avid Starbucks drinkers don’t know is that the cafe was never intended to become the giant it has grown into.

The infamous coffee shop started with three college students.


Their inspiration was simple. They wanted to sell high-quality coffee beans. While attending the University of San Francisco, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker met Alfred Peet. Peet was the founder of Peet’s Coffee and Tea in California. Also, his business was simple. He refused to sell the popular coffee at the moment and only roasted high-quality coffee beans.

Baldwin, Siegel, and Bowker found inspiration in Peet. They related to his entrepreneurial perspective and clear passion for quality coffee. Taking a note from Peet’s strict quality rules, they opened their own coffee shop. Initially, they were buying green coffee beans from Peet and selling them in their cafe. Instead of selling them wholesale, they sold them in family sized portions. The three students were business savvy. They capitalized on Bowker’s advertising knowledge when choosing the infamous name. Bowker knew that names starting with “St” had a powerful connotation. While looking over a map of western North America, they found the name Starbo. Bowker connected Starbo to Starbuck, the chief mate in Moby Dick. Starbucks was officially born and the first Starbucks logo was designed.

The first Starbucks store opened in 1971.

At first, it only sold coffee beans and equipment and didn’t roast coffee in the house. Their initial coffee beans came from Peet’s source and then expanded to buying from growers. Initially, the store was first at 2000 Western Avenue for the first five years. Then moved locations to 1912 Pike Place where it has remained since.

Starbucks logo


The first Starbucks logo

It was a twin-tailed siren and represented the origins of the sea-derived name. The Starbucks logo saw the first 16 years of the cafe’s life. This Starbucks logo was even present when Starbucks bought Peet’s Coffee and Tea in 1984.

Perfect timing was on Starbuck’s side

As a matter of fact, their first fifteen years of business came during the perfect time. During this time, America saw the first ever increase in specialty coffee sales. Comparatively, specialty coffee sales rose by 7% in six years while regular coffee sales took a sharp decline. Starbucks had caught on to a trend that the three students were totally unaware of.

In 1987, Howard Schultz put an offer on the Starbucks chain. At this time, Starbucks had expanded to six stores in the surrounding Seattle area. The three founders accepted $3.8 million dollars in return for their first venture. Additionally, Schultz owned his own Seattle cafes, named II Giornale Coffee Outlets. His vision was to bring the romantic allure of Italian style cafes to America. American coffee shops were lacking the, “come and stay awhile” atmosphere. Schultz had the motivation to start a movement.

In his first year of owning Starbucks, Schultz rebranded his coffee shops as Starbucks cafes. Additionally, he opened two new cafes. Together with his supervision, the company hit their first million-dollar milestone.

They made $1.3 million in 1987

This was Starbucks first step outside of Seattle and into other parts of America. The new locations were in Vancouver, British Columbia and Chicago, Illinois.

As the cafe passed state borders, the Starbucks logo upgraded. The twin-tailed siren on the original Starbucks logo remained. The Starbucks logo was upgraded with the infamous green border and white font joining the siren.

Starbucks logo


After two years after Schultz bought Starbucks, forty-six stores opened. They spanned the northwestern and mid-western states of America. The Starbucks logo was appearing in new states across America. Starbucks began hungrily eating its competitors. At this point, they were roasting more coffee beans in one year than most shops were roasting in five. In 1989, the college student startup venture roasted two million pounds of coffee.

Three years later, Starbucks had expanded its influence. With 140 cafe shops around North America, the coffee shop was making more than $70 million per year. With a market value of $271 million dollars, Starbucks went public in 1992. Initially, they were selling 12% of the company’s stock to outside investors. Their initial public offering was a success. Notably, the coffee shop took the $25 million dollars they raised and increased the number of stores. By 1994, they had two hundred and eighty stores in the United States of America.

During their IPO, the logo changed again. The siren enlarged but the rest of the logo remained the same.

Starbucks logo


Four years after going public, Starbucks went global. The first international Starbucks store made its home in Tokyo, Japan. Shortly after, Starbucks established itself in the Philippines. The coffee giant then turned its focus to the United Kingdom. First, they bought the Seattle Coffee Company for $83 million dollars. Then, they turned all 56 stores into Starbucks shops. This was their first stake in English territory. In 2002, the chain moved to Mexico and has since opened over 500 cafes.

Despite the global success, Starbucks was hungry for more

Schultz and team strategized opening a franchise of pastry and sandwich shops. They opened a few shops in San Francisco in 1999. Quickly, they realized that they didn’t need to open new restaurants. Straightaway they realized that they could merge the cafe and restaurant into one. Starbucks became more than a coffee shop. Since then, it has become a fully functioning fast food restaurant.

By 2006, Starbucks only had one rival remaining. Their only rival was Diedrich Coffee. Diedrich coffee was a family-owned business. It turned public and belonged to the Coffee People and Gloria Jean’s Coffee. Diedrich’s coffee succumbed to Starbucks. They sold 40 of their stores to Starbucks. Shortly after, the massive coffee chain rebranded each store with the infamous siren logo. Diedrich’s remained in business as a coffee bean wholesaler. Three years after selling its locations to Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee attempted to buy the company. He was outbid by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. As a result, they bought Diedrich’s for $290 million dollars.

Starbucks narrowed down their outside competition and expanded to South America and Russia. In-house, the coffee shop focused on what the next coffee trend would be. They purchased Clover Brewing System in 2008 to begin brewing fresh pressed coffee. This is now a staple of their current menu.

The reason for Starbucks success was in trying everything and anything that could bring them more customers.

For example, the coffee shop started asking for useful suggestions. They received these suggestions in their community website. While figuring out how to improve their menu and shops, they were also able to grow their contact list. This growth came from inviting people to sign up for the community website. Their next success came from their loyalty program. It offered coupons, discounts and internet access to members. Loyalty program members had access to free refills, no charge on plant-based milk or extra syrups. The loyalty program led to the Starbucks app which released in 2011. Using the app, Starbucks customers can place money on a virtual gift card. Then, they pay with their mobile phone right at the counter. It also gives customers the option to order and pay ahead of time to avoid waiting in line for their drink.

Removing Starbucks Coffee Words From Logo

In 2011, the coffee giant confidentiality removed the words Starbucks Coffee from their logo. It became assumed what was clearly known, everybody knew what Starbucks was.

Starbucks logo

One year later, the coffee shop acquired Teavana for $620 million dollars and then expanded into Vietnam, Cambodia, and Italy.

As a company always focused on what enhancing the customer experience to increase their influence, it is no surprise that Starbucks is considering allowing payment through blockchain currencies. They have announced a program that uses cryptocurrency to connect avid coffee drinkers directly with coffee farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Rwanda. The goal of the program is to track the journey each bean takes from harvest to cup.

Schultz still remains in a powerful position with the Starbucks empire, focusing his efforts on ensuring the coffee shop experience he initially intended remains despite the rapid globalization of the company. The Starbucks logo can be found on six continents and in 75 countries.

Currently, the coffee chain sells over $2 billion dollars worth of Frappuccinos a year. The logo may have had its final changes but the franchise is still on the move. Starbucks makes over $10 billion dollars in revenue per year as well as is constantly opening new stores and  also entering new markets.

What is the secret to Starbucks massive success?

Giving the consumer exactly what they want. As consumer needs continue to change, Starbucks continues to fit the mold of the perfect coffee shop for them. Removing high-fructose corn syrup as well as milk from rBGH cows, the coffee shop is set on ensuring they remain the top cafe in the world.

Starbucks has become a household name, growing an empire that spans the globe. Starbucks continues to influence the coffee industry so as the largest player.

The three founders of the small, Seattle based coffee shop find it hard to believe that their startup dream could have grown to become one of the largest companies in the world. Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker will go down in corporate history as three students who stumbled into a business at just the right time. Their entrepreneurial spirit has permanently shaped the coffee industry and will also continue to impact coffee culture and sourcing for years to come.

Print custom round stickers for your brand here!


Here are a few more articles you will love!

Don't forget to share this post!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

Want to see more from Nonstop Signs?

We’ll send you emails with our latest and greatest posts—and some fun extras.