Behind the Scenes with ‘Starbucks for Life’ 10K Gold Card Designers

A piece of jewelry. A hand-carved section of wood. A small slab of concrete.

Those are some of the ideas the Starbucks creative team considered when designing a prize for Starbucks® It’s a Wonderful Card Ultimate Giveaway*. The prize, for 10 people in the U.S., amounts to one free food or beverage item from participating stores every day for the next 30 years. This is the first time Starbucks has ever offered customers a prize of this magnitude.

“A gift this special has to have a symbol to accompany it that is equally rare,” said Colleen Davis, senior producer in Starbucks Creative Studio.

For each of the winners, designers collaborated to create a Starbucks® card made of 10K hammered gold. Each card is unique and engraved by a metal artist with the winner’s name. “A lifetime is a long time to enjoy,” appears on the back of the card that arrives in wooden box, handcrafted by a local artisan.

“We wanted to do a hammered gold card because it has a handcrafted look, just as most of our Starbucks beverages in stores are handcrafted,” said studio designer Tina Hsu.

The card is also heavy, so each time a Starbucks for Life prize winner handles it he or she will feel the weight of the card. Hsu hopes that will remind card holders of the “human connection” they have to coffee farmers and everyone involved with producing, handcrafting and serving their food or beverage.

The presentation of the card also has several “personal touches,” said Caytlyn Chilelli, a Starbucks graphic designer. The wooden box containing the 10K gold card is placed inside a handcrafted paper box containing a letter-pressed certificate with the winner’s name.

“This card is a piece of Starbucks history,” said Chilelli. “Every detail is a representation of who we are as a company; emphasizing the personal, handcrafted connection we have to every step of the process from our farmers to our customers.”­

Between now and January 5, 2015 customers who pay using a Starbucks® Card or their Starbucks® Mobile App receive a code at the bottom of their receipt. After entering the code online, customers find out if they’ve won one of the 482,000 instant prizes and are entered to win the ultimate prize of Starbucks for Life, which is one free food or beverage item from participating stores every day for the next 30 years. For entry, eligibility and official rules visit

Infographic: Here are just few things you can do with Starbucks for Life

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2024 Starbucks summer highlights