Starbucks has one of the most recognizable logos in the world. It’s also one of the most baffling. Most people draw upon their vague knowledge of Greek mythology to identify the female figure in the logo as a mermaid.
You may want to know further what the story is behind the Starbucks siren mermaid- why was she chosen to be on the logo? What is she holding? What does she symbolize? We share your curiosity and decided to investigate the matter. Here’s what we found!
What Is the Starbucks Siren Mermaid In 2023?
The figure on the Starbucks logo is a two-tailed siren and not a mermaid in 2023. She was chosen for the Starbucks logo to represent the maritime associations of Seattle and coffee. Most of the coffee sold by Starbucks reaches the US by way of container ships. Further, sirens are seen as alluring, which makes them a metaphor for coffee.
If you want to know still more about the Starbucks siren, and the history of the logo, carry on reading. You’ll find all you need to know here!
Is the Starbucks Girl a Siren?
The female figure on the Starbucks logo with her recognizable wavy tresses and twin tails is one of the best-known corporate symbols around the world.
Most people mistakenly identified her as a mermaid, though Starbucks’ spokespersons over the years have taken pains to stress that she is actually a siren.
A siren is also a mythical sea creature, and like the mermaid, is partially a beautiful woman and part fish.
However, unlike mermaids, sirens have two tails and a more hostile attitude to humans.
Why Is the Starbucks Symbol a Mermaid?
First of all, as we saw above, the woman in the Starbucks symbol is a siren, not a mermaid.
The official version of how a mythical sea creature ended up as the Starbucks symbol is that she represents the maritime associations of Starbucks and its city of origin, Seattle.
Further, the siren represents the lure of distance and enchantment. Coffee, too, reaches the US from distant shores, mostly by container ships.
Also, the allure of coffee is undoubtedly the basis for the success of Starbucks.
What Does the Siren Mean at Starbucks?
The reason why the founders of Starbucks chose a mermaid to be their symbol is one of those quirks of history, much like the company’s name itself.
Starbucks was named after the First Mate on the Pequod, the ship hunting the mythical white whale in the novel Moby Dick.
To continue the seafaring associations, the original three founders of Starbucks – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker – were searching for a picture for the logo.
That’s when they came across a 16th-century Norse woodcut of a siren in a book, and something about the image spoke to them of a global coffee retail chain.
The Starbucks logo has changed over the years, but the one constant element is the image of the siren, though her appearance has been modified.
In 2011, the lettering with the words “Starbucks Coffee” was removed, and the logo became just the siren with her crown.
What Is the Starbucks Siren Holding?
To some people, it appears that the Starbucks siren is holding something in her hands, but that is just a bit of confusion generated by the design.
Actually, those are the ends of her two tails, curled up on both sides of her body.
Does the Starbucks Siren Have a Name?
The Starbucks siren does not have a personal name. She is simply “the siren”.
Some people confused her with Melusine, another mythical creature who was half woman and half water serpent.
However, Melusine was said to dwell in rivers and streams rather than in the sea.
Melusine did share with sirens the habit of luring unlucky humans into the water with her singing.
What’s the Difference Between a Siren and a Mermaid?
An ordinary member of the public would be hard-pressed to tell you the difference between a mermaid and a siren.
However, any student of Greek mythology knows that they are completely distinct creatures.
For one thing, mermaids have only one tail, while sirens have two tails, or one tail split into two at the end. Furthermore, their attitude toward humans is different.
The best-known mermaid in modern history is probably the little mermaid in Hans Christian Andersen’s story.
Immortalized by Disney, little Ariel loved humans and wanted nothing so much as to walk on dry land and be loved in return by a human prince. The story doesn’t end well.
Sirens, however, have a more sinister aspect.
They are known for their beautiful singing, which lures sailors to steer their ships towards rocky shores in stormy seas. It’s another tragic ending.
The difference is that with the sirens, it is the humans who meet an unhappy end.
Medieval Christianity eventually took over much of the mythology, and sirens also came to be seen as alluring and dangerous.
As you would expect from such an intriguing image, it has a fascinating history to match. The Starbucks siren symbolizes the seafaring associations of Seattle and coffee, as well as the lure of distant shores.
In spite of these rather arcane associations, the Starbucks siren has become one of the most recognized logos worldwide.