Sunday, February 14, 2010

Twin Tailed Mermaid

Starbucks Coffee is by far the most popular coffeehouse chain in the United States. As a matter of fact I'm drinking one right now. Have you ever wondered about that logo on the top. It's an image of a twin tailed mermaid.  This world wide known logo has brought Starbucks all the way through since the 1970's. The logo came from a similar logo design found in Italy by Howard Schultz who joined the company in 1982. Howard had founded a similar coffee house in Italy called Il Giornale. Later he purchased Starbucks, and transferred the same style of logo.

The Starbucks mermaid or siren has evolved through some stages each becoming more and more generalized. The original logo pictures the siren completely topless with both twin tails revealed. The second version of this siren shows her this time with her hair covering up her chest. The text is significantly bigger drawing more attention to the name rather than the siren.  The color has also shifted to green with stars emphasizing the name.  

The current logo is of a generalized version of the sirens top half. Now it might be difficult to see the siren with two tails. Now she looks just like a topless women or goddess. 

I find it interesting that while this name and logo was taken from a specific place, a novel by Moby-Dick, that we no longer associate it with that place. This character has since transformed to being in one with the coffee it represents. 


  1. Do you know why they kept modifying the logo? I'm just curious, as to why they would modify the logo. Was it because the mermaid was topless that the they modified the logo? Or was it because they wanted to create a more unique logo? I think you have a lot of good information but it generated many questions for me at least.

  2. I really do not like coffee, and I never really understood what the connection between coffee and a mermaid was. Logos often go through stages of modification, I think this is aesthetically pleasing and simplified in black and white. What connections where made to the reading....I mean could you make any?