Conceptual Starbucks logo

People are talking about Starbucks lately. They’re close locations, laying off staff, losing money, facing the same old sniping from labour and trade groups, and fresh whipping from coffee lovers. (no pun intended) So maybe a brand overhaul is in order.

Architect magazine this month is featuring a proposed re-design for Stabucks from Pentagram partner James Biber. The new approach is dramatic, tossing away the faux-local aura of the Starbucks chain, as well as the identity overall. Biber’s proposal includes changing the name to *$, a more symbolic, and therefore more universal metaphor, for the company’s name. It’s daring, but it could work.

It is about money as much as coffee and about abbreviation as much as leisure. And it is about recognizing that a name says something about the intentions of a brand: a reference to Moby Dick may not be as relevant a reference as text messaging.

The original post on the Pentagram blog features a more in-depth view, including architectural renderings of a new *$ interior and the strategic justifications therefor. It’s actually quite compelling, so have a read. »

And since Starbucks stock price is down 42%, now might be a good time to buy. Ironically, I truly have no money these days because the economy is in the toilet. Same reason Starbucks’ stock price is down in the first place. Then again, I did just buy a new Starbucks card.