Wondering Linkly | Starbucks Design Bonanza

I hope you’ve had a wonderful, wonderful Christmas! This time of year is an important refresher of the seasons. Winter clears out the dirt and dust of the past months, and we’re reminded that spring is around the corner. Whether you hold the Christmas season as a holiday of divine hope or not, it’s certainly a time to reflect on the smallness of our humanity and our innate desire for renewal beyond our imaginations.

On a more trivial note, it’s go-time at Starbucks for the public, as they pump out holiday drinks and promotions, new mugs and gifts and *aaaahh* new gift card designs!—as well as thoughtfully chosen She & Him and Gaga + Tony Bennett albums for your last-minute checkout perusing.

As a graphic designer (come on, come on, say what you do/study), it’s especially exciting for me on those gingerbread latte runs to let my eyes dance over the bright new packaging and elevated use of type and mixed media that welcome in customers.

Didn’t snap any photos on my visit today, but did some wandering on the web curious about the design happenings.

The Dieline
The Dieline is all about package design. If you’re interested, they have a neat job board!

At their 2013 package design conference, they interviewed Mike Peck and Steve Murray about Starbucks’ package design process. Peck had unveiled the newest design rehaul of their regularly carried coffee blends in a keynote called “Packaging a Retail Experience.”

About a month before, Andrew Gibbs, CEO/Founder/EIC at The Dieline, checked out Starbucks Global Creative’s studio!

Editor at Large Grant Van Sant creates beautiful things at Osso with Celina Pereira.

Okay back to Starbs
In March 2014, Starbucks rebranded their Tribute Blend with a multi-layered design incorporating handmade elements, which gives me sparkly butterflies inside. The completed design took a whole year to develop!

Interesting how long it can take to create and finalize a forward-moving design while time continues to pass. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight or running by just one brain. I love how the article includes thoughts on the importance of research time and understanding of the different ways different team members will get inspired and ready to work.

We can wheel around back to the roots, but is it just me or is Starbucks’ semi-blogging extraordinarily boring? I mean

Another page pretty much just links to its fan-sourced Pinterest board to showcase the gorgeous, diverse giftcard designs they’ve been putting out. Hmm. Could be better.

To be honest, I do feel that a lot of hoohah about branding/Starbucks/its place in American culture is in fact hoohah. But as a designer, it’s essential to have a sense of wonder (elbow jab, elbow jab) with a hearty value of disposal.

Designers always need new inspiration just like artists; they may even be the same people. But the role of the designer is to communicate a message, to observe and comment on culture and then to pretty much let everything else (culture, people, product) do the talking. Make it look good, nerd out about the nuances of messages, then trash it for the next thing if it’s time.

Dang. Going to have to change my series image soon! Onward, 2015!

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