Breaking the roundel rule

The roundel incorporating the siren, last updated in 1992, has been synonymous with the Starbucks brand since 1972.

The logo’s strength has always been the simplicity of the roundel. Reminiscent of the first cattle brandings, it has been used by many high street names including Pizza Express and The Body Shop. But the latest evolution is a step away from this rule of roundels, placing Starbucks in the land of logos like Nike and Apple.

This bold statement is one of confidence in the strength of the brand identity. No one questions who the tick belongs to or the Apple, but is Starbucks big enough to carry this off? Even with its global success it only holds less than one percent of the retail coffee market. However, given that Apple held a similar share of the PC market when it started it must be possible.

So what has changed? Very little. However my concern is on the recognition of the siren. If you are asked to draw the Nike logo or the Apple symbol most will get it right first time, but ask someone to draw the siren and they will struggle.

The power of the Starbucks brand is an association with the product. But what products can a nameless brand reach out to?

James Packer, Design Director, Uffindell, London, EC1M

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