The Story Behind the Starbucks Mermaid

The Story Behind the Starbucks Mermaid

In Bloomberg's "Behind the Design" series, they tell the story of how Starbucks got the inspiration for the mermaid that's on your coffee cup.  According to Bloomberg...

The design of the Starbucks logo began in Seattle in 1971 with three university friends who really liked coffee.  They also really liked the Herman Melville novel, Moby Dick.  So much so, they decided to name their company after Captain Ahab's ship.  But branding exec Terry Heckler decided that Pequod Coffee didn't sound quite right.  So they went with the name of the first mate, Starbuck.

Heckler then trolled through maritime books and found a 15th century woodcut of a two-tailed siren. Instead of luring sailors onto the rocks, this mythical mermaid would call people to come and grab a cup of coffee.

Initially, her chest was bare.  But after some complaints, Heckler redrew the design with long hair that covered her body.  In 1987, the logo also went from brown to green--a symbol of freshness & growth.  In 2011, the Starbucks Siren was redesigned with rounder details.  A longer shadow was also introduced on the right side of her nose--a small element of asymmetry, which made her feel more human.

The Starbucks Siren can now be spotted in 76 countries and markets, helping Starbucks reach a brand value of more than $8.7 billion.

How awesome to finally know the story behind the mermaid!  Now when I drink my Grande Hot Chocolate with whipped cream or my Venti or Trenta Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher, I'll know the true story about the mermaid on my cup that started as the myth, but became a legend.  Thanks Bloomberg!


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