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The Russian Starbucks replacement's logo gives us serious déjà vu

The conflict in Ukraine has led many Western companies to pull out of Russia, leaving a vacuum for local entrepreneurs to step in. A Russian Starbucks replacement has just opened its first store in Moscow (in a former Starbucks), and things look strangely familiar... but different. 

Hot on the heels of Russia's McDonald's replacement comes Stars Coffee. And while it may be a completely new local brand, it's not exactly starting out with a blank slate. As well as moving into former Starbucks stores, it seems it's hoping customers won't feel like anything's changed, taking some inspiration from the Seattle coffee giant's branding and localising its famous mermaid logo. What's she wearing? We'll reveal all, but this might be one for our list of logos that look similar.

Russia's Starbucks replacement

The Russian Stars Coffee logo compared to the Starbucks logo

Starbucks Coffee Vs Russia's Stars Coffee (Image credit: Starbucks / Stars Coffee)

Many people say that logos are all starting to look the same, but this is one case where it would be very hard to argue that the similarity is unintentional. Russia's McDonald's replacement launched with an interesting logo that resembled a lot of things, but none of them McDonalds. In the case of the Russian Starbucks replacement, the owners have gone for something that makes Stars Coffee's legacy blatantly clear.

When Starbucks announced its withdrawal from Russia in May, closing the 130 stores it had built up since opening in the country in 2007, in stepped Russian businessman Anton Pinskiy, the rapper Timur 'Timati' Yunusov and the Sindika Company to snap them up. According to the Russian media site Sostav (opens in new tab), the new owners wanted to make the cafes as similar as possible to Starbucks, and that they have done.

As well as adopting a brand name that merely drops four letters from the words 'Starbucks Coffee' (apparently the name 'Starbox' was also considered), the new franchise has a circular logo that looks very much like the old Starbucks log before the brand dropped the green circle. 

There are some stars, naturally, and a feminine character with wavy hair. She's not a mermaid, but her features look almost identical, and instead of a crown, she's wearing a kokoshnik, a traditional Russian headdress. The Russian YouTuber Kostya Pavlov has posted a video of his visit to the first Stars Coffee store in Moscow, and the logo isn't the only thing that looks familiar.

Stars Coffee seems to be aiming to recreate much of the Starbucks experience, including the tradition of writing customers' names on their takeaway coffee cups – and Pavlov appears to approve.  Of course, borrowing branding from a well-established name is nothing new. After all, how many supermarket brand colas use a red colour and a script font to blend in on the fizzy drinks aisle? The Stars Coffee logo seems to do what it's tended to do, attempting to suggest that things are the same, just more local. But all the same, it might be one of the worst logos of 2022 in terms of originality.

For another very different take on the Starbucks logo, see these stunning horror logo redesigns. And if you think you could make a better Starbucks logo mod yourself, see our guide to how to design a logo and our pick of the best graphic design software.

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.