This American chain of coffee houses, with its distinctive logo, has become a recognized brand in countless major towns and cities throughout the world, with innumerable smaller outlets located in bookshops, hotels, airports, stations, and sports and leisure centres. Based on the concept of a comfortable living room combined with coffee shop, the brand has also developed its commercial potential to embrace a wide range of other products, whether closely related—such as own‐brand coffee‐beans, biscuits, and ice cream—or more generic lifestyle commodities such as music. The company's distinctive logo was designed by Seattle‐based Heckler Associates in 1971 and underwent three changes between then and its more definitive 1990 version. Although based on the image of a mythical siren, due to the company founders' interest in the sea, the increasingly simplified image has made a global impact. The first Japanese Starbucks outlets opened in 1996 and, by the early 21st century, had outlets in more than 30 countries including China. The expansion in Japan was dramatic, opening its first store in the Ginza district of Tokyo in August 1996 and its 400th in Okinawa in 2002. The success of the Starbucks lifestyle concept, accompanied by rapid growth and high levels of profitability, has been such that it has also given rise to a number of imitators. The first Starbucks location opened in the United States, in Pike Place, Seattle in 1971 and the company expanded globally with a brand recognition that has been compared to the longer standing, brand‐distinctive McDonald's fast‐food empire. However, in its early years the company's activities were mainly concerned with the marketing of coffee to expresso bars and restaurants and it was not until 1983, when its marketing director Howard Schultz travelled to Italy, that the idea of developing a coffee bar culture began to take off. Starbuck's achievements have been such that, in 2003, it was considered by Fortune, the leading American business magazine, to be one of its ten most admired companies. However, like many other American global brands, it also attracted criticism but sought to counter this through its profiling of progressive employment practices, including the offer of share options to part‐time staff, and a commitment to ecological and environmentally‐friendly policies.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.