The Joy of Design: Creating Starbucks Popular 2015 Dot Collection Mugs

How does “the best day ever” begin?

For Starbucks designer Trista Sydloski-Tesch, who admits she is not a morning person, it must start with coffee.

“Coffee is my morning motivator. It’s the thing that gets me in the mood to go to work and be creative,” she said.

In that spirit, she conceived a coffee mug for the 2015 Starbucks® Dot Collection that she describes as an “aspirational” cup with the reminder that any day can be awesome. The design highlights the message “Best Day Ever” in gold lettering, positioned below the mug’s raised center dot. Bursts of colorful shapes are scattered around the Confetti Double Wall Traveler, 12 fl oz, which comes ready-to-give in a bright red box for the holidays.

“I’ve seen quite a few people on Instagram who’ve been personalizing it by adding wedding dates or their baby's birthdate to the design with a permanent marker,” Sydloski-Tesch said. “I get a lot of happiness out of the fact that someone else is delighted by the mugs I had a hand in creating.”

A Fondness for Vintage Tattoos

Sydloski-Tesch is behind several mugs in this year’s holiday merchandise collection. Building on the popularity of 2014’s inaugural collection, Starbucks in-house designers created a collection of artistic variations on the iconic Starbucks green “Dot” logo. The Starbucks® Dot Collection offers a variety of drinkware, including stainless steel and ceramic tumblers, cold cups and mugs. Each piece in the collection of nearly 70 designs is packaged in a festive red box with most items priced under $25.

Some of Sydloski-Tesch’s 2015 designs build on last year’s collection, such as a ceramic tumbler that features a face reflected from a compact mirror. The young woman applying makeup is a version of last year’s “Face.” A mermaid scales pattern provides a line of continuity between the two designs – last year the scales were positioned on the face’s cheeks almost like “shimmering blush or freckles,” she said. This year, the scales appear as makeup powder and touches of gold, which serve as a clasp on the compact and mimic the crown atop Starbucks Siren.

The Starbucks Siren also stars in another tumbler that draws its inspiration from vintage tattoos. “I love the inherent nautical theme with the Starbucks brand and portraying the Siren in different iterations. In this case she’s demure, but still has some whimsy to her design,” Sydloski-Tesch said. The Vintage Tattoo mug includes an anchor, boat lifesaver, spyglass and rose in a muted color palate of red and olive green.

Flynn is Growing Up

For Starbucks visual communications designer Esther Asuncion, the idea for her Dot Collection design came from her 4-year-old son, Flynn. “My inspiration was Flynn’s artwork. I was looking at his art as I was working on the design and we ended up collaborating," she said.

Asuncion started with one of Flynn’s drawings, which became the green “dot” at the center of her design. Then she drew a young boy with a wide smile and hands covered in green paint. Flynn “signed” his work with his two green handprints that appear in miniature beside the Starbucks name on the back.

The Boy Painter mug depicts the messy fun of creating art, and the freedom and exuberance of childhood expression. “I can’t take all the credit for this,” she said. “Flynn did a lot of it.”

This is Asuncion’s second design for the Starbucks Dot Collection. Last holiday, her design for Boy with a Green Balloon featured a little boy like Flynn with an oversized green balloon that seemed to be lifting him off the ground.

“Flynn was so excited when I brought this year’s mug home,” she said. “He knows it’s his.”

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5 things to know about first-ever Starbucks Promises Day