Artist Brings a Range of Emotions to Designs in the Starbucks Dot Collection

When Starbucks designer Trista Sydloski-Tesch was a barista attending art school near the Seattle waterfront, she loved creating the chalk art with each new beverage or food item for her store’s menu board.

Now she creates art for thousands of Starbucks® stores in the U.S. and Canada as a merchandise designer in Starbucks Creative Studio. This holiday, her designs grace a wide variety of pieces in Starbucks® Holiday Dot Collection – from a sleek matte black stainless steel cup to a floral tumbler with poppies and daisies.

“There are so many stories our merchandise can tell, whether it’s the changing of the seasons or the range of human emotions,” Sydloski-Tesch said. “Each designer can bring something special.”

This year, for the first time, Starbucks is offering limited-edition art prints of some of its drinkware designs at Two of Sydloski-Tesch’s designs, Eyes and Face are available as both tumblers and as hand-signed prints.

“When I started working on the concept for what became Eyes, I wanted each eye to be expressive,” she said. “To do that, I drew a variety of faces: cheeky, sleepy, silly, wide-eyed, mysterious. Using a technique I learned in design school, I started the image very small and enlarged it to expose all the nuances of hand work. Working quickly and small allows a lot of expression to come through.”

Sydloski-Tesch particularly liked one of the faces she drew for the “Eyes” composition, so she brought it to the Starbucks Creative team and “Face” became a design on its own.

“The smiling siren is a direct expression of the Starbucks logo. The scales on her cheeks gleam with a golden shine, like shimmering freckles,” Sydloski-Tesch said.

Some of Sydloski-Tesch’s designs shimmer. She hand-painted the Gold Dot design using a rough bristle brush and paint, and created “Pike Place,” a sepia-toned stainless steel tumbler that evokes the look of vintage 1800s tintype using a photo of Starbucks original store in Seattle.

Other pieces have a more tactile quality, such as the black-and-red plaid mug that was inspired by her husband Peter. “He’s very outdoorsy and wears a wool plaid jacket when it’s really cold out. I wanted to make sure there was something even a guy like him would like in the collection,” she said.

A few of her favorite pieces in the Dot Collection are just a simple color treatment. One of her childhood friends has been asking her to make an "all-pink" cup ever since she started working at Starbucks. She was able to make that wish happen this holiday.

“I don’t feel limited by status quo, or what we’ve sold in the past,” she added. “As designers, we can be bold because Starbucks is open to new interpretations and ideas.”

About the Starbucks Dot Collection

Sydloski-Tesch’s work and other pieces from the Starbucks® Dot Collection 2014 are available in participating U.S. Starbucks stores through the holidays. Each store has its own selection and the full collection can be found at, while supplies last.

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