Eleven lessons: managing design in eleven global brands
Design at Starbucks
From its beginnings as a single coffee shop in Seattle 35 years ago, Starbucks is now a global brand which uses design to aid the delivery of a distinctive service experience to its customers. The Starbucks Global Creative team manages regularly changing design themes while working within a global brand.
Starbucks uses design It has developed a strategy that allows it to balance regularly changing design themes with a consistent set of brand values, and uses design as a way of aiding the delivery of a consistent service experience to its customers. Key elements of that strategy include: — — — —
The development of detailed guidance for internal and external designers in the company’s brand and design principles The use of a five word filter against which all design concepts are judged A defined Processway to take designs from concept to delivery, encompassing a detailed suite of technical, legal and customer checks The development of an electronic workflow management tool to automate much of the design Processway and to further support designers with access to additional resources.
Meet the team The Starbucks Global Creative team is responsible for the delivery of all in-store collateral and packaging, for the design of much of Starbucks’ advertising and marketing materials, and for a visual merchandising group that works on the visual presentation in the stores and of the products. The group also commissions external creative agencies that deliver worldwide advertising campaigns. A separate store design group is responsible for the design of the furniture, fittings and layout of Starbucks’ retail outlets. The Starbucks brand itself is managed by a brand
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group that strategise new brand platforms, such as a new product line and new identities. The Global Creative team is led by Hainsworth who manages just under 100 staff at Starbucks' Seattle Support Center. Around 50 of these are designers, the rest responsible for project management. All design departments within Starbucks, as well as external agencies, work from 'the same creative palette,' says Hainsworth. Designers Starbucks’ Global Creative team employs graphic designers together with technical and packaging specialists. Some of the team also bring fine art and illustration skills to the mix. Designers are also encouraged to think of themselves as business owners, and an emphasis is placed on employing designers who are also thinkers and strategists. Hainsworth believes that fostering a creative culture in Starbucks is important, and in his role as creative director, he is the face of design within the organisation, and is responsible for showing that designers aren’t just 'off the wall wacky people.' In more depth Read more about the skills that business leaders are looking for in their designers
History Starbucks was founded 35 years ago as a single coffee shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The company in its current form began in 1982 when Howard Shultz, now Chairman, joined as director of retail services and marketing. Shultz scaled up the import and distribution of fine coffee and identified an up-market niche for coffee houses, combining some of the atmosphere of Italian espresso houses with American values of friendly, efficient service. The first of this new style of coffee bar was opened in downtown Seattle in 1984. By 1990 Starbucks had 84 stores around the US During the 1990s it continued to expand and entered significant distribution relationships with a number of large US retail, air travel and hotel chains. It also extended its brand to encompass other aspects of the coffee shop experience, such as selling CDs of the music played in its stores as well as ground coffee and related products for home consumption.
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