Can Your Logo Stand on its Own?

Posted by Steve Kleber on Jan 07, 2011

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Can Your Logo Stand on its Own? Here’s the latest.


Starbucks revealed its new logo last week, removing the words “Starbucks” and “coffee” from its iconic green and black mermaid logo.  Is there something to be said for logos that can stand on their own? With this move, Starbucks is saying that its green mermaid symbol is distinguished enough by consumers that they will recognize the coffee giant without the company name.

This isn’t uncommon for companies to trust their brand identity solely on a logo.  Pepsi dropped the name from its logo during a recent logo redesign. And both Apple and Nike allow their symbols to speak for themselves.  Apple’s silver apple and Nike’s swoosh stand on their own as symbols of their respective company’s products, brand promise, and altogether corporation identity.

However, I can’t talk about logo changes without the recent Gap logo debacle going unmentioned.  The clothing store’s logo was drastically changed from its traditional navy blue logo to a more modern and updated logo. Gap executives possibly wanted to modernize their logo, but the new design was not well-received.  Immense complaints from consumers about their distaste for the new logo filled Gap’s Facebook and Twitter sites.  Within days, the new logo was out, and the old logo was back in.

Why did Gap’s logo redesign fail? Simple psychology says that people aren’t big on change, and the new Gap logo was not only poorly-made (some would argue), but it was vastly different from the old logo and may have been too much for the public to handle.  Starbucks’ new logo, which will go into effect in March to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary, still has the same green coloring as the old logo and the same mermaid image.  Aesthetically, the design changes are minor, and therefore could be slight enough that the public will be satisfied with the modifications.

Logo redesign worked for Pepsi and failed for Gap; will the Starbucks mermaid be recognizable enough without the company name? They’re definitely counting on it.

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 2:40 pm and is filed under Advertising, Brand Management, Marketing, Public Relations, Research, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.