Starbucks Announces the Winner of its White Cup Contest

Brita Lynn Thompson’s art got her in trouble when she was a little girl.

She was always more interested in drawing on her papers than paying attention in school and completing assignments.

“I’d doodle on my class work. My teachers would call my parents and I’d get a lecture,” Brita said. “One day my mom suggested I draw in a sketch book, and I’ve been doing at least one sketch a day – every day – for years.

Now, the 20-year-old community college student in Pittsburgh isn’t getting in trouble for her constant doodling. She’s getting noticed.

Thompson is the winner of Starbucks White Cup Contest.

The design competition encouraged customers in the U.S. and Canada to decorate a Starbucks cup with customized art, take a photo of it, and submit the design through social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.

Starbucks received almost 4,000 entries in just three weeks.

Brita said she was “speechless” when she saw an email from Starbucks letting her know she had the winning design.

“It was probably the happiest day of my life,” she said.

“This cup is totally amazing – so expressive and iconic, but also so handmade. It’s different from anything we’ve ever done,” said Ryan Turner, Starbucks ‎director of global social media. “There were thousands of entries, and an unbelievable amount of variety and creativity. It's humbling and inspiring and it made for a really difficult, but fun, choice. Congratulations to Brita!"

Brita didn’t have a plan for the design when she started drawing on an empty cup she’d just picked up from the Starbucks in Market Square. Sitting in Point State Park, she started with a bold zig-zag line from the top of the cup to the bottom.

One spontaneous line, led to a swirl, then a circle, next a diamond pattern and small squares until the cup was covered – except for the Starbucks Siren logo – with a contemporary design.

“I created several other cups, but that one was my favorite,” she said. “It really represents who I am as an artist.”

Brita plans to continue studying art and would like to transfer to Savannah College of Art and Design, perhaps to become a fabric designer.

“I want to create art that makes people happy,” she said. “It’s that simple.”

Brita’s winning design will be available this fall on a limited edition Starbucks reusable plastic cup.

Designed to look like the company’s paper cups, Starbucks reusable cup debuted in January of 2013. The plastic cup is sturdier than paper, but thinner than a typical tumbler with a lifespan of about 30 uses.

“This is really an honor for me,” Brita said. “I’m amazed and so happy.”

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