February 11, 2011
Michaela Bell, senior graphic design major at Oklahoma Baptist University, designed a logo for Starbucks Coffee Company that was selected to be used for a new, regional blend of coffee.
The contest entailed creating a design that would portray the Oklahoma/North Texas region of the country with “Area 119” somewhere within the design.
Bell found out about the contest from a bulletin board posting at the Shawnee branch of Starbucks where she currently works.
After learning about the contest, Bell said she decided to enter in hopes of adding a “cool portfolio piece that wasn’t a typical classroom project.”
Although confident in her skills, Bell knew that there were many “artsy people out there working for Starbucks,” so she wasn’t too sure of her chances at being chosen.
Soon after hearing of the contest, Bell began her initial creative process to designing the piece. Bell said her “initial inspiration was the wind. That is what [she] thinks of when [she] thinks of describing the Oklahoma/North Texas region.” She began to delve into the idea of using the phrase “Stirred with the Wind,” thinking it would be an appropriate way to convey a “blend” of coffee from Oklahoma and North Texas.
However, in the end Bell was asked to remove this from the design.
Originally from Colorado, Bell had little information on the Oklahoma/North Texas area. Fortunately, with the help of Graphic Design Professor, Corey Fuller and fellow graphic design major, Aaron Morvan, Bell was able to research what this region ‘s about. Bell’s design process began with research, some small doodles, playing with colors and things that inspired her.
She then started working with tag lines that seemed to fit the essence of the area. Bell also said that she “refreshed [her] mind” on what kind of design aesthetics Starbucks generally used in their design work.
After moving her process to the computer, Bell began to show her designs at different stages in the design process to students and faculty at OBU.
Throughout the process, Bell said she encountered one major struggle, which actually occurred after her design was chosen. The contest committee informed her that they had a preference of another drawing by another artist. They informed Bell that they wanted her to incorporate the drawing into her design. Bell said that she struggled because “[she] was really proud of what [she] had come up with, and then they wanted [her] to stick in something that didn’t go along with [her] colors of the design at all.”
However, she overcame this by computerizing the drawing and incorporating it into the overall design in the best way she knew how. Another thing that was changed after her design was chosen was the title. Bell had come up with the title “Oaky-Tex Blend,” but was asked to change it to the “Red River Blend,” which she gladly accepted.
Bell said that upon hearing that her design was chosen, she felt like it “gave [her] a lot of motivation that someone, other than teachers and family thinks [she’s] good enough, and that it made [her] feel confident that [she] will be able to make it as a designer.”
Bell also said that the design will be shown on all the labels for the stickers for the 40th anniversary blend of coffee, as well as being embroidered on the polos for the baristas to wear at work.
Bell’s achievement has been covered by public relations at OBU, The Shawnee News Star, the Oklahoman and her manager has been contacted about setting up an interview with her on Channel 4 News.
Bell said that she believes this contest has helped her “move forward” in her young design career. She said she knows that this opportunity will “give [her] confidence, move [her] forward in [her] design and be a good portfolio piece with a good story behind it.”