Many have no doubt noticed your local Starbucks coffee cups have been sporting the company’s logo from years past. It’s part of an interesting trend in logo and visual identity nostalgia. Sports teams have been doing the same thing for years with their jerseys and in turn selling much more merchandise. Whether or not Starbucks will see an increase in sales due to the retro logo remains to be seen.
However, from an aesthetic standpoint it is interesting to see the two logos side by side. At first glance it’s obvious that two major factors have changed the logo, technology and corporate growth.
Technology as a form of change is evident in the qualities of each illustration. The former logo is clearly a hand drawing and the more familiar logo surely benefited from the crisp production of Adobe Illustrator (or Freehand).
The original features a bare breasted mermaid. It’s hard to believe that today a multi-national corporation would ever give the green light to such a logo (if not only for nostalgia’s sake). The newer mark is also much easier to reproduce in various formats and far more iconic, both features necessary for a large corporate logo.
Perhaps Starbucks is featuring the old logo to remind people that they are authentic, that they have a history, that they were not always ubiquitous and disposable. Once upon a time they had character.