11 fun facts (and 1 surprise!) about Starbucks new collectible merch 


A Starbucks destination mug can be many things – a souvenir, a thank-you gift, a part of a treasured collection. It celebrates the joy of the journey and the keepsakes to find along the way. 

This spring, Starbucks is launching the Discovery Series, a new collection of merchandise that tells stories of each location through its iconic landmarks, unique food, local activities and people. Every piece is designed to match the vibe and energy of a city. 

“The artwork has an authenticity, a joyfulness and beautiful colors – we tell a story on each mug,” said Discovery Series product manager Holm-Ingolf Hamann. “This is the most beautiful global collector series we have ever made.” 

The collection is launching in more than 20 U.S. cities, states and locations to start, and expanding to more locations across the U.S and Canada and around the world over the next few years. 

Here are 12 fun facts about the Discovery Series: 

1. Let’s start at the beginning 

Starbucks mugs have been a favorite among travelers and collectors for 30 years, starting in 1994 with the City Mug Collector Series with cities around the world including the new markets of London, Bangkok and Paris. In 2002, Starbucks introduced the Skyline Series to highlight the unique cityscapes of each destination, an approach that continued with the City Scenes Series in 2004 and the Architecture Series in 2006. In 2008, the designs became more expressive with a greater variety of subjects with the Global Series, culminating in the most recent Been There Series with whimsical icons in a hand-drawn style.  

2. A new evolution 

The Discovery Series uses colorful overlapping icons to create a living narrative of each location. 

3. A green dot marks the spot 

The iconic brand reference centers each design and serves as a backdrop to the location name rendered with a hand-drawn typeface. 

4. Playful illustrations 

The team tested a variety of illustration styles with customers, and settled on solid, color-blocked and layered shapes that make up the silhouette of each icon. With imperfect angles and tiny details, the artist’s hand is apparent. 

5. Vibrant color palette 

The collection features hyperreal and fantastical colors with thoughtful combinations that imbue a bold and joyful spirit. 

6. Unrealistic scale 

Icons are sized in proportion to one another in a way that feels supernatural and wondrous. 

7. Humans in action 

The Discovery Series is the first in the global collection to feature people – each design includes a dynamic human element engaged in a local activity. 

8. Hyperlocal details 

Each design features not only iconic landmarks, but hyperlocal details unique to each location – a little wink for those who call the city home.  

9. Subtle humor 

Interactions between icons create an opportunity for clever narratives, like a sea lion rushing to catch a San Francisco streetcar. 

10. Stackable shape 

Stackability was one of the things customers loved about the Been There Series ceramic mugs for displaying their collections, so designers kept the dimensions of the Discovery Series mugs unchanged. 

11. It’s in the bag 

While the 14-ounce ceramic mug will be featured in all participating stores, select locations will offer additional pieces, including: a 24-ounce cold cup, a 16-ounce stainless steel tumbler, and – for the first time – a packable travel tote. Licensed stores (located in grocery stores, airports, retailers and hospitals) may also carry an exclusive 2-ounce demitasse ornament.  

Surprise! A hidden icon 

A Starbucks to-go cup is hidden within each design.