Starbucks' well-received logo redesign has a secret.
The impeccably-drawn mark, depicting the famous siren freed from the ring of overbearing type which surrounded her on earlier versions, is a clear visual advance for the brand. The monochrome icon is both modern and classic, the end result of minimalism done right.
In confidently removing the Starbucks name the company comes out as Mount Rushmore material, the kind of face so recognizable that a label is not necessary. But more intriguing is the lack of "Coffee" in the mark, a strong hint that the company has larger plans in mind for this elegant siren.
In a self-flattering promo video for the new mark, CEO Howard Schultz provides further evidence that a movement is afoot. "We've allowed her to come out of the circle in a way that I think gives us the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee," he says, before quickly assuring the viewer that Starbucks is and always will be a coffee company.
Hidden behind the aesthetic improvement of the new mark is the latest confirmation of the company's inevitable transformation into Starbucks, Inc. Like Apple before them, Starbucks is poised to move beyond what got them this far and embrace their role as a global superbrand, one worthy of such a bold logo. Starbucks has been moving from local shop to Big Coffee for two decades, but the new mark represents a final break.