Who is the Starbucks Siren?
The meaning behind our logo
She’s at the center of your Starbucks cup. That green mythological creature who’s staring into your soul as you drink your latte. The star of Starbucks® Anniversary Blend. But seriously, who is she?
“It’s the siren. She is not a real person, but we kind of think of her as one. She’s the biggest symbol of our brand, really, other than our partners (employees). She’s the face of it,” Steve Murray said. He’s a creative director in the Starbucks Global Creative Studio.
The siren is like a super mermaid. A mermaid with one tail is just a plain ol' mermaid. (Sorry, Ariel.) But a siren is often depicted with two tails. She might seem like an unusual choice for the face of a coffee company. But there’s a pretty interesting backstory as to how and why the siren came to be.
It was 1971 and the founders had landed on the name Starbucks, inspired by Moby Dick. Next up: creating a logo. While scouring some old marine books, something stood out. A siren in an ancient Norse woodcut.* The mysterious, nautical figure called to them, as sirens do.
“They really loved the look of it and it kind of tied into what they felt Starbucks stood for,” Steve said. “So we took inspiration from that and created the logo from there. And she became the siren.”
In case you’re wondering, there are two big connections between Starbucks and the seafaring world. 1) Our hometown of Seattle is a port city. We’re right on Puget Sound and we feel this very strong connection to the water. 2) Coffee often travels long distances across the water to get to us. Even today, it arrives at the port in big container ships.
Over time, we’ve given our siren a few makeovers. As Steve says, “we got to see a lot of her” in the beginning. The first update came in 1987, the year we added handcrafted espresso drinks to the menu. That’s when the logo switched from brown to green. We also gave her a more modern feel. In 1992, we became a publicly traded company. We adjusted the logo a bit more by zooming in on the siren. But 2011 brought probably the biggest change for the siren.
Despite all the changes, she’s stayed pretty consistent. She’s still the siren. But what does she really mean to us?
“I hope when people see the siren on their cup, of course it’s going to stand for what they’re going to get from Starbucks,” Steve said. “If the siren is on that cup of coffee, it’s going to be awesome.”
She also stands for everything that we stand for.
“It’s definitely about coffee but it’s about a lot more than coffee. It’s about...being good to people, being good to the world,” Steve said. “That’s definitely something that we do in the way that we source our coffee and that we help farmers, the way we treat our customers and the way we treat our partners. I think it’s about being good citizens of the planet and taking care of each other in that way and standing up for what we believe in.”
So there you have it. She’s still that wavy green siren on your cup. But she’s so much more.
“Anniversary Blend celebrates the siren because it celebrates Starbucks and what we’re all about,” Steve said.
With their passion for bold, great tasting coffee, our partners and customers inspired Anniversary Blend. It’s spicy and earthy and something we’re really proud of. As we celebrate our 45th anniversary this year, we’re excited to once again share this amazing coffee with you.
Anniversary Blend was available online and at participating stores for a limited time.
Complex, hearty and full- bodied with distinctive cedary spice notes
*It’s ok. I had to look up “Norse” and “woodcut” too. Here’s what Merriam-Webster has to say:
Norse = “of or relating to ancient Scandinavia”
Woodcut = “a relief printing surface consisting of a wooden block with a usually pictorial design cut with the grain”