Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?

As per my usually choosing for articles, I chose one that had an interesting title. I also understand how many thousands of Starbucks there are worldwide and I was interested to read the article. At the beginning of the article many different facts are stated from the business side of Starbucks. Behind every design and company there needs to be a strong backbone of leadership. Without an innovative lead designer, your business cannot be as successful as wanted. If you think of every restaurant that is popular towards the public, the face of design is constantly changing in order to grow with the public.

In the beginning, Starbucks had 4 different design themes based on feelings turned into coffee lingo. Depending on the community of the local Starbucks, one theme would be chosen. Towards the beginning of Starbucks’ existence this was a great plan; until the company reached thousands. Now, Starbucks has an idea bank of millions of individual light fixtures, furniture pieces, color schemes, and store concepts. In the design stage for each store, the local environment is used as an inspiration for the store theme. Local materials can be seen through the coffee shop. Starbucks has changed their design to be unique to each and every store instead of being another cookies cutter shop.

I believe that this concept can be applied to any type of design. Every architecture firm is known for at least one specific field of work. No matter how many schools or office buildings they design, they cannot be cookie cutter. In the design development stages of every project the client is interviewed and studied to determine what they want out of the building. In the end, the building is for the client, not for the actual firm.

In school we also have a design style that we tend to gravitate towards. As much as we like to sick to our style, we need to create each project based on what the user wants. Design technology and styles will always come and go helping us to update our preferences. Each client wants the building to be their own, and as designers its our job to provide that.


Wilson, Mark. “Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?” Co.Design. Fast Co. Design, 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 July 2015. <;.


2 thoughts on “Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?

  1. kordia says:

    I thought this was a good insight into how a company continues to grow and mature their brand. I remember working on a large healthcare project with a full Starbucks and we had to select from 1 of the 4 options (none of which were that appealing in my opinion). I do think that it is great there is an effort to make stores more reflective of the local culture. I think this is a larger element of the coffee shop culture who would rather feel like they are supporting a local store rather than a mega chain.

    Can you think of any other chain restaurants or retail that have a similar approach?


    • kcastinado says:

      Most of the chain restaurants that come to mine, within the same popularity level keep a fairly constant design aesthetic. My mind jumps to Chipotle and they mix of tin, concrete and wood. Each restaurant is a bit different, but they all have the same underlying look.


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