Coffee giant Starbucks this week unveiled a new logo. Not entirely new, the same ‘lady’ in the middle of the old logo remains, they have just stripped the outer green circle that had the Starbucks’ name in it.

It is a big step to show trust in their brand recognition. The same green is easily recognisable, but with the name of Starbucks’ so integrated into Western culture they believe there is no need for the name to noted directly in their logo any more.

The original Starbucks logo was actually brown, but changed to notable green in 1987, with other small logo tweaks since, but this is the biggest change yet. CEO Howard Schultz was noted as saying “the world has changed and Starbucks has changed,” and with other comments like “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,”, it would appear that the change could see Starbucks moving into new ventures not necessarily coffee related. The removal of the words will also probably help expansion into non-English speaking countries.

The new logo is not expected to be rolled out in stores in March and it will be interesting to see how well it is received by the public who have helped make it such a powerful brand. As reported here in October, clothing retailer GAP made a very quick u-turn on their logo re-design when customers set about criticising it via social media channels.

Are words important to a brand? Should an established brand shy away from tweaking logos that so obviously work?

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