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Telling Time by Design

starbucks_2016_holiday_green_cup

We have not yet finished the Halloween candy in the office (last I checked there were two mini Kit Kat bars in the bowl), and yet the holiday season is fast approaching.

In years past, the holidays officially began the day after Thanksgiving, when the neighborhood lights were hung and toy commercials bombarded the airwaves. But this year, the season begins on November 10th, the day every Starbucks around the globe will break into the sealed boxes and unveil their seasonal red cup.

The importance of the Starbuck’s cup design illustrates the importance of design and packaging in our society and the power and influence a strong brand can wield. Do you remember the uproar last year, when they introduced the simplistic red design? The one without any holiday symbols? According to Jeffrey Fields, the Vice President for design and content at Starbucks, the company wanted customers to create their own stories on a blank canvas and “usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” But many people used social media to express their outrage, some calling for a boycott of the company.

And today, just before one of the most controversial elections in U.S. history, one of the leading news stories this morning covered the introduction of Starbuck’s new, green unity cup. Is this the new holiday design? Did the company switch from red to green? More uproar on Twitter. Designed by artist Shogo Ota, the cup has hundreds of figures sketched into one continuous line. The outcry now is over political brainwashing.

As for me, I’m going to enjoy the new green cup, anticipate the red cup to come and enjoy my cup of coffee with one of those last Kit Kat bars.