Sloppy Printing at Starbucks


A stroll down any street anywhere in the world will put you face to face with a Starbucks coffee shop. Today, for printmaking, walk past your local coffee roaster, the corner espresso bar or drive past D&D and head on over to Starbucks. You don’t actually have to buy your coffee at Starbucks but just come with us on a little creative field research.

With the launch of their new Bold campaign, customers will be offered the “bold pick of the week” in a new “pour over brewing”. The savy printer will note that the ensuing ad campaign involves more than a little print aesthetic. The window vinyl graphics feature text and graphic images of the To-go coffee cup and the actual starbucks logo created in the style of a relief or stencil print. Roller marks and roughly mixed colors abound.

What is this all about? Are we meant to to appreciate their DIY aesthetic? Perhaps this Is an attempt to put the stamp of the handmade print on the brand of a huge multi-national corporation during an economic downturn. Or maybe it’s just sloppy printing. What do you think? Anyone know a marketing expert who could weigh in this latest ‘print in popular culture’ moment?







The corresponding print and web ad campaign features screen prints on fabric which seem to reference both coffee bean bags and romantic ideas about “exotic” locations.

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Categories: Print-related

7 Responses to “Sloppy Printing at Starbucks”

  1. Luther says:

    Looks like sloppy printing to me. I guess you’d have to see more than one of the same design to determine if it was designed that way.

  2. kvh says:

    It’s right in keeping with Amos Kennedy’s aesthetic. Proceed and be BOLD?

  3. amanda says:

    It’s definitely on purpose. They started doing this about 8 months ago with the burlap bags. They’re also opening up shops that are meant to look like locally owned DIY/eclectic coffee shops in attempt to make them not look like a corporation and give you that warm fuzzy feeling instead, like you’re supporting the little guy and helping your community. There’s absolutely no way they would get a sloppy print job and just throw it up on every window in lieu of having everything re-printed.

  4. Em says:

    My vote. Intentional grunge. Especially with that coffee cup. Their new ad campaign is grungy/textural throughout, check out their new magazine ads.
    interesting their new focus is on “quality” right?

  5. ditto to kvh. “It’s right in keeping with Amos Kennedy’s aesthetic. Proceed and be BOLD”

  6. Joanne says:

    The unfriendly type just doesn’t do it for me. In a way it looks like the printer was skimping on the ink, only trying to ad as little ink as possible to get the job done. Do we have to worry about Starbucks doing the same thing to the coffee, and yet still pay the same price?? We all know that it costs a fortune to get a large black cup of coffee, let alone a grande frappe mocha with a shot and it might as well be a beer, because when you get the bill your going to need a little something to cushion your fall when you hit the beautifully tiled floor… The thing about the ad is that it looks like an old “wild wild west – WANTED .. poster, (to me anyway) with all the caps and bold face letters like they are hurting for business. I like the burlap bag background, because I think that it signifies the packaging for a great coffee bean. Another thing, the type face could have been a “home sweet home” feeling and would have been more (I think) welcoming. But then again then it wouldn’t be Starbucks. Starbucks has very clean lines and a very corporate feeling. When you say “Starbucks” -you think, Corporate Yuppies: People that don’t have children and families, and are willing to spend $5 for a Grande Black and White Mocha everyday before work and after. And in these times, who can afford $10 dollars a day just for coffee. I would love to but just can’t. Starbucks for me has become a place that is a treat for the family, like going to the local ice cream shop. Something you’d like everyday but can’t afford it. However, I do like the slogan, “This is how coffee tastes when you pour your heart into it” … It’s a welcoming slogan with a great taste! And my last thought; if Starbucks is getting such a rise out of everyone just because of their marketing ad campaign, hopefully they’re gaining customers with their coffee . . . .

  7. Quinn says:

    This is on purpose, its just the modern “grunge texture” style. What I can’t find anywhere on the web is exactly what type of material this is or where I can order prints on it for an upcoming project! Clear static clings just aren’t the same. this looks so clear and has a solid print! Where do i find this/who prints this?!