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Starbucks Design Secret

Starbucks Secret: Unveiling the Design Magic Behind Starbucks

One of Starbucks’ keys to success lies in its captivating designs. There’s always a buzz of excitement at Starbucks whenever they unveil new seasonal tumblers or cups, drawing long lines of eager customers.

Howard Schultz’s Vision: Revitalizing Starbucks’ Design

Starbucks embarked on a journey of design marketing when Howard Schultz returned as CEO in 2008, aiming to revitalize the brand’s identity. Prior to this, Schultz had stepped down as CEO when the business stabilized.

His return was prompted by criticisms that Starbucks had lost its cultural essence and become solely profit-driven.

Howard Schultz starbucks

Upon Schultz’s return, around 600 older stores were closed, and 350 designers were recruited. Previously, only four design themes existed for stores, with interior design outsourced. Schultz focused on enhancing store design, logo, font, color schemes, and even beverage presentation, ensuring a consistent and appealing brand image.

1. Localize Stores

One by one, Starbucks sent its designers all over the world, and they built 18 design studios in Europe and Asia. Each of the designers takes responsibility for one store and stays in those areas for 1 to 2 months. During several months, they create brand-new Starbucks stores that can be harmonized with local cultures. For example:

  • New Orleans Brass Ceiling: In New Orleans, the homeland of jazz, they decorated the ceiling using brass wind instruments such as trumpets.
  • Brooklyn Basketball Desk: At Brooklyn Barclay stores, famous for basketball, they made the tables, desks, and chairs out of recycled basketball court floor.
  • New York and San Francisco Workspaces: In New York and San Francisco, where a lot of single customers visit, they put big tables suitable for working and studying.
  • Gathering Meeting Spots: In Beijing and Mexico City, where lots of family and friends hang around, they interiorize the store, which is good for gathering around and talking to each other.

2. Starbucks Special Typography

Also, Starbucks is moving away from hand-lettering, which was a staple of coffeehouse culture it had used in the past. They made their own brand font for more uniformity and specialty. Here are two types of Starbucks special fonts:

  1. Sodo Sans Font: This font, a streamlined typeface, is used for most of the company’s body copy. It’s a sort of San-Serif type that is neat and simple. They use this font for clear messages, such as a menu.
  2. Lander Font: Lander is a serifed typeface with character that looks perfect for social media. They much more emphasized the edge of the finish, so it makes a little bit fancier. This is for Instagram and interior quotes.

3. Humanized Siren

Howard Schultz upgrades the Starbucks logo, the Siren. Because of the excessively perfect bilateral symmetry, it makes Starbucks cold-hearted.

To make the logo more humanized and warm, they curved the outer layer of the face. And to break that symmetry, they elongate the shade of the left nose.

4. Seasonal Trendy Color

Every season, they choose the primary colors that are on-trend, inspired by their coffee craft or beverages, and then build a cohesive campaign across channels as well.

About two months before the new season, they start to look for color by considering the fashion and home-appliance industries, and they also consider harmony with the seasonal new beverages.

5. Design the Beverage

By following the growth of Instagram and SNS advertisements, they also formed the beverage design team. So, they created UNICORN FRAPPUCCINO, which made more than 160 thousand posts on Instagram (2017), and Mermaid Frappuccino (2018). This year, they released the Tie-Die Frappuccino, in which blue, gold, and pink flakes are drizzled on the white foam. The reason why Starbucks focuses on the design is because of these powers of the design.


At first, design can change customers’ feelings. And also, design can convey the brand’s identity. Ben Nelson, who is the Creative Director at Starbucks, said in an interview, We were just proud of the work and inspired by other brands being more transparent about their creative process.


What is the font used at Starbucks?

The Starbucks logo features a unique font known as “Starbucks Gothic,” which was specially designed for the Starbucks brand and is not accessible to the public. This custom typeface, created in the early 1990s during a rebranding effort, adds to the distinctiveness of the Starbucks identity.

Why did Starbucks remove their logo?

In 2011, Starbucks made a significant change to their logo by removing the words “Starbucks Coffee” and streamlining the design to emphasize the iconic siren. This shift represented Starbucks’ broader vision to extend its product range beyond just coffee, including offerings like tea and food. The unique typeface used in the Starbucks logo, known as “Starbucks Gothic,” adds to the brand’s distinct identity

Who is the lady on the Starbucks symbol?

The origin of the Starbucks logo traces back to an ancient Norse woodcut dating back to the 16th century. This woodcut depicted a unique creature known as “the siren,” featuring two tails. The siren symbolized allure and enticement, which led to its selection as the emblem for Starbucks.