As you may have heard, Starbucks changed its logo last year. They took the outside ring and words away and featured the “siren.”
If you read the comments below the corporate statement, you’ll see a lot of reactions, most of them negative. A lot of people are really upset about this change. Why do you suppose that is?
Remember your favorite meal that your mother, spouse or whomever cooks for you? It’s comfort food. And coffee is comfort food.
By changing the logo, you change the symbol of the company, right? You are changing what the company stands for. You are changing what people are comfortable with.
But Starbucks wants to move beyond just selling you coffee. It’s a global brand with a lot of potential. You might even like to have other Starbucks products because you like their quality, so you want them to grow and expand what they offer. If you’re a shareholder, then it is very likely you want them to be successful at this.
The problem comes in that the mermaid visual doesn’t really embody the culture, the spirit of providing people their comfort food. So people feel like Starbucks is abandoning them. They won’t be able to get the coffee they NEED.
Yes, we understand that the siren is supposed to represent seafaring Seattle history with a touch of history, mystery and the muse. However, singing sirens from myth drowned and ate delirious sailors while mermaids symbolized lustful temptation, love of the sea and the nature of the sea itself. The sea can be breathtakingly beautiful, tender, violent and deadly. Even if the average person isn’t consciously aware of all these cultural influences, they are still affected by them. Perhaps, to a degree, this new image has a slight feel of the unknowable or potentially dangerous, to some small degree. It’s all just murky enough association that it inspires a momentary hesitation before first accepting it.
After a while, the new logo no longer threatens. Customers will find that the “new” Starbucks is not trying to separate people from their coffee. All’s well that ends well.
So why is a web designer talking about Starbucks logos and mermaid symbolism?
Your website is your formal public face. As you can see from Starbucks’ logo redesign, you can easily cause confidence in your public face to waver. Starbucks will be able to handle losing a few thousand upset customers but most website owners would rather not.
What is needed in a website is to accurately represent the person or the business it represents. A little experience and common sense can go a long way toward improving and increasing the visitors to your website.