Starbucks New LogoIn honor of its 40th anniversary, Starbucks today unveiled a new logo that the company is hoping will represent its milestone year as well as a fresh new chapter.

The revamped logo, modified to achieve a cleaner vibe, features several slight changes including the deletion of a circular border as well as the removal of the black background framing the famous siren. The biggest change generating the most buzz, however, is the elimination of the prominent’s brand name – a bold move that some critics are calling just plain dumb.

“Removing the Starbucks name off your logo does not make any sense,” wrote one customer. “Free advertisement on every cup, every day. Think about it.”

Says Brand Channel, “Meaningful? Only to Starbucks. Subtle? Not at all. In fact, the focus on the brand’s mermaid and scuttling of its name jettisons the distinctive black and green color combination that nearly everyone associates with Starbucks.”

So why did the company feel it important to execute such a gutsy move?

Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz explained that the brand “looked to companies like Nike Inc. and Apple Inc., which had earned the clout with consumers to drop the words from their logos. And it closely watched the missteps of others, such as Gap Inc., which launched a new logo in October only to withdraw it after harsh criticism by customers and others.”

The nameless logo is just one step of several in the company’s ongoing brand refresh. In spring, the company is rumored to be replacing its bulky mugs with a more delicate and sophisticated bone china. The brand is also undergoing testing to establish a new payment system where patrons can order beverages from their mobile phones. And to build upon its calm but social atmosphere,  the coffee giant is considering offering wine and beer at night in select locations.

What are your thoughts on the simplified siren? Striking or strike out?