Monday, February 25, 2008

Rethinking Starbucks

Myth and symbol surround us. Echoes of the ancients still ring in our modern ears. The yearning for the spiritual and mystical is ingrained in our hearts, despite our immersion in the modern, secular, world. Let's look at an example...

has been in the news quite a bit lately. Reported layoffs, financial woes, and temporary store closing Tuesday, have caused people to question this powerful Seattle coffee icon. The Starbucks logo is one of the most familiar corporate images anywhere in the world. What most coffee-drinkers don't know is that this mysterious female image depicted on the logo has its roots in the ancient past.

To better understand what we're talking about, it would be helpful to take a look at the evolution of the Starbucks logo over the years. Here is the current logo:

Here is the logo as it used to appear:

Here is the original logo pre-1987:

The image shown is that of a mythical mermaid-type creature, known as a melusine.

A melusine is a figure of European legends and folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers.

She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish (much like a mermaid) from the waist down. She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails or both, and sometimes referred to as a nixie (source: Wikipedia).

Here are some examples of the melusine from the past. If you look carefully, I'm sure you'll see the resemblence to the current Starbucks logo. The legend of the melusine was first told in 1394 in France. Take a moment and read the tale for yourself. Here is a collection of mermaid/melusine legends from across Europe, compiled by a University of Pittsburgh professor.

Myth and symbol are all around us...

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Academics Blogs - Blog Top Sites