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Creative Brand Design Starbucks

Starbucks redefines its creative brand expression with public website


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

August 27, 2019 | 4 min read

If you think it’s too soon for the pumpkin spice latte (PSL) at Starbucks, let yourself be distracted by the brand’s design evolution, which the coffee giant just made public on a website, with a complete rundown on the new brand expression.

Starbucks creative expression

Starbucks has a site to show its latest creative brand expression

“As we evolve to meet beautifully diverse customers all over the world, our brand has evolved too. Here we introduce a fresh new design system that maintains the core elements of our brand while keeping our customers’ experience central to creative expression,” the dedicated Starbucks creative site states.

The brand goes on to say that it is incorporating “beautiful, expressive moments with calm confidence in ways that are optimistic, joyful and recognizably Starbucks.” It will use its iconic Siren logo, along with an “expanded palette of greens rooted in our iconic green apron” as well as a “family of harmonious typefaces”, which it says will bring “purpose and cohesion” to every interaction customers have with the Starbucks brand.

The site shows how the new brand expression has already been implemented in spring, summer and Nitro brew campaigns, before explaining the other design nuances.

When addressing the Siren logo, Starbucks explains that the brand prefers to use the logo by itself without its wordmark, which allows it to be presented with “greater prominence.”

Siren logo

Colors lean into the brand’s family of greens, highlighted by the PMS 3425 ‘Starbucks Green’, then accented by other greens, black and white, along with seasonal accent colors.

Voice is addressed in two silos – functional and expressive. Functional copy, the site states, “means helpful,” and is most often used for ordering. Expressive copy is its marketing copy, as on its signage and social copy, and it stresses “making every word count.”

Instagram copy

Starbucks typography is moving away from hand-lettering and towards three fonts: Sodo Sans, Lander and Trade Gothic. The site even lets people try out the typefaces on the page.

Illustrations are used to express heritage, coffee and customization, as on gift cards and small lot coffee packaging, while photography must relate back to the brand. “The goal: every photo and video is identifiably Starbucks. Product stories are clearly about the product. We use people sparingly, thoughtfully and with intention,” states the site.

Ben Nelson, creative director at Starbucks, said in an article by Fast Company, that the company was “inspired by other brands being more transparent about their creative process” as the reason for the public site.

The creative expression site comes after the company reported its Q3 fiscal results, with sales at US stores growing by 7% and same-store sales growth in China at 6%, even with Luckin Coffee making a hard charge at the brand in the Chinese market.

See more of the brand expression by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

Starbucks: Starbucks Creative Expression

By Starbucks

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Creative Brand Design Starbucks

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