The unveiling of Starbucks’ 2016 holiday cups, an event eagerly anticipated by coffee fans throughout the world, included a cup featuring intricately-drawn poinsettias created by Christina Anderson, a senior landscape architecture student at Texas A&M.
Her design, available at Starbucks stores in Latin America and East Asia, is one of the global coffee chain’s 13 holiday cups.
“I have a lot of friends who live abroad and like to travel and they’ve been sending me pictures with my cup design,” said Anderson, who is spending fall 2016 at the College of Architecture’s study abroad venue in Bonn, Germany.
Anderson learned that hers was one of the new holiday cups from a phone call at dinner with her fellow study abroad students.
“I had to excuse myself from the table to take the call,” she said. “When I heard the news, I literally sat down in the middle of the floor for a few minutes before I got up and started jumping around. I was smiling so big that it actually hurt.”
For the cups’ unveiling in early November, Starbucks flew Anderson to New York for a launch party that included company CEO Howard Schultz, her fellow cup designers, and the media. The cups were also revealed on a massive video board in Times Square.
Anderson’s journey to design fame began when Starbucks asked customers to post photos of their 2015 holiday cup designs, since many of them were using the company’s solid-red holiday cups as a canvas.
Anderson, whose favorite Starbucks drink is a London Fog Tea Latte, was one of more than 1,200 designers from around the world who responded to the company’s invitation.
“I follow a lot of artist accounts on social media, and when I saw a few red cup designs, I was inspired to design my own,” said Anderson, who used a Sakura Gelly Roll Classic Gel Pen to draw the poinsettias.
“Last year, I developed an obsession for white ink drawings and paintings so I used the same white ink on my design,” said Anderson, who graduated from high school in The Woodlands, Texas.
The company was surprised and inspired by the amount of beautiful, expressive and engaging art submitted by customers, said Dena Blevins, a director at Starbucks Global Creative Studio. “We quickly realized the potential to use the customer-created art for our 2016 holiday cups,” she said.
Company representatives asked a small group of customers to mail in their cups so they could be evaluated for potential production.
The selected cups, designed by customers in six countries, will be distributed in more than 25,000 Starbucks stores in 75 countries.
“People will be walking around in Shanghai, New York and London carrying these cups,” said Blevins. “We love that our customers’ artistry can play a part in brightening someone’s day.”
Anderson is enjoying her new notoriety and Starbucks lattes this fall as a study abroad student, an experience that has been incredible and life-changing, she said.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to fulfill my passion for traveling while I’ve been here,” she said.