Starbucks Holiday Cups Are Back

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With a swirl of candy cane ribbon, a pop of green, and a merry greeting – the holidays have begun at Starbucks.

Starting Nov. 7, Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada will be decked out for the holidays with a fun and festive design worthy of that first sip of Peppermint Mocha (not to mention Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte). 

Jen Quotson, vice president of Starbucks Creative, said this year’s holiday design was created to evoke mini moments of joy for customers and partners. It’s fun, festive and uniquely Starbucks. 

“We came up with this idea of wrapping the stores in holiday joy and wrapping the cups like a gift to our partners and customers,” Quotson said. “We wanted coming to Starbucks to be like uncovering a present.”

The Starbucks designers looked at everything from iconic Christmas movies to music, along with more than two decades of Starbucks holiday cups. They also turned to their new creative expression, a reimagining of the Starbucks brand. After creating over 50 designs to consider, they landed on a series of four designs in shades of red, white and Starbucks signature green.

Typography is used as the main illustrative element for three of the designs, with whole letters playfully rotated for a musical, song-like quality, while polka dots playfully cover the fourth. Each cup design has a unifying green stripe on the back, finishing the cup like a ribbon. 

“We played with this idea of typography being art and the green dot of the Starbucks logo,” Quotson said. “We just thought that was a very sweet expression of the brand, but still felt very holiday.”

The new cup styles are:

Polka DotsThe traditional Starbucks red cup is dotted with green, with the Siren playfully popping in here and there.

Merry Dance: A lively pairing of red and green letters jazz up a snowy white cup with a joyful holiday wish.

Merry StripesFrom a distance, this cup looks like it’s wrapped in green vintage wrapping paper. But up close, its tiny type offers a happy holiday sentiment.

Candy Cane StripeThe colors of the holiday all come together with this design as the Starbucks wordmark falls like snow against stripes of candy cane red and white.

The designers also found other ways to bring the cups to life in the eyes of customers. For the first time, they also designed a series of holiday ads. This year’s ads build off the playful cup designs and include a green dot sledding down a mountain of whipped cream or red ribbon twirling playfully around a Starbucks cup. The designs carry over to a partnership with Instagram where customers can use a  new interactive feature to animate elements of the cup to share through their accounts.

But the best cup is a reusable one, and Starbucks is giving away a free limited-edition reusable red cup to customers who order a holiday beverage at participating Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada on Nov. 7, while supplies last. Even better, customers who bring back their 2019 reusable red cup to a participating Starbucks store in the United States or Canada after 2 p.m. Nov. 7 through Jan. 6 will get 50 cents off their handcrafted grande (16-ounce) holiday beverage.

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