Starbucks Releases Their 2019 Holiday Cups

by Bill McCool on 11/06/2019 | 3 Minute Read

The jack-o'-lanterns are smashed, and the turkey isn’t even on the table yet, which means it’s the HOLIDAY SEASON™, and there’s perhaps no greater harbinger for all things festive than the annual unveiling of Starbucks’ seasonal cups.

This year, the coffee giant released four designs for their signature holiday cups, with a hearty emphasis on type and patterns, a little gift you can give to yourself whenever the need for a  quad long shot grande in a venti cup half calf double cupped no sleeve peppermint mocha with almond milk or something like that.

Editorial photograph

The first design features a pattern of green polka dots against a red backdrop, with the occasional appearance of the Starbucks siren. The “Merry Dance” cup is type-forward with red and green letters against a white, snowy canvas while another comes decked out as a candy cane with the jumbled Starbucks wordmark spread about like a table full of Scrabble letters. Finally, the last cup features tiny type reading “Merry Coffee” laid out like stripes with the siren logo front and center.

“We started by focusing on our new creative expression,” says Ben Nelson, creative director at Starbucks. “We rallied back against what’s iconic to Starbucks, which is the siren, and, of course, coffee.”

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

“As we started to look to cup designs this year, the designers were inspired by classic holiday prints that we could bring to life in classic holiday colors like red and our house green, and treating them like little gifts to our customers,” he adds. “There’s a little Starbucks ribbon on the back, so it's like we wrapped up our cup this year.”

But it’s typography that gives the cups the old Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye treatment. This past year, as part of their new creative expression, Starbucks introduced their new house font, SODO Sans, and it plays a starring role in this year’s packaging (SODO is also the name of the neighborhood where Starbucks headquarters calls home in Seattle).

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

“We loved the idea of the sing-song type that you find in old musicals where you see the dot bouncing along as the music plays,” Ben says. “So that inspired the merry copy with letters tilted back and forth as if there’s a holiday song playing in the background.”

“We also wanted this year to be fun and festive, but still be very modern,” he adds “It’s not a nostalgia play. It takes inspiration from there.”

That same musical type makes an appearance on their cold cup as well, with “Merry Coffee” dancing in red and white using their proprietary font.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

For the second year in a row, Starbucks is also giving away a limited-edition reusable cup. Once again, the reusable vessel features a bold red, but this year they’ve added “Merry Coffee“ in an adorable, near-dancing type which wraps around the cup.

Giveaways for the reusable cup start on Thursday, November 7th.

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