On any given day you might find Selvi Lesmana at a Starbucks café, sitting down with a cup of caramel macchiato and a book in hand, a routine she finds relaxing. At times, the talented graphic designer would also retreat to doodling on her coffee cup – a habit that eventually brought a major twist to her life. Last month, Lesmana’s drawing was among the 13 selected worldwide to grace the US coffee chain’s holiday-themed red cup.

Indonesian Artist’s Illustration Graces Starbucks’ Iconic Red Cup (1)

For many people, when red Starbucks cup returns, it’s a signal that the holiday season is drawing near. This year for the very first time, the Red Cup was launched on November 10 designed by its customers. Taking a cue from the customers who had been using this cup as a canvas, the Seattle-based company invited customers in December last year to post on Instagram holiday-themed doodles on its classic red cup. Within eight days, there were more than 1,200 submissions from 13 countries. In the end, 13 designs from six countries were selected – Lesmana’s was one of them. “Birds & Flowers”, as she dubs her design, highlights the beauty of nature as reflected in a harmonious backdrop of magnolia and hedge sparrows. It also speaks of love and faith. “The magnolia is a common flower in Indonesia that can be found in everywhere, therefore it also represents the beauty of Indonesian nature, and the hedge sparrow symbolizes faith and creativity. For me, this illustration describes the holiday spirit that can be accepted by anyone from any cultural background. In the end, this is what Starbucks iconic red cups are all about, to highlight the festive spirit in diversity,” says Lesmana, a freelance designer with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Visual Design from Maranatha Christian University in Bandung.

Indonesian Artist’s Illustration Graces Starbucks’ Iconic Red Cup (2)

Aptly channeling the spirit of the season, as well as the company’s commitment to creativity and innovation, it was only natural for Lesmana’s design to be picked – though the humble designer preferred to play it down. “I was surprised when I found out that my artwork was selected. I am very happy and proud that my design will be printed on the iconic red cups that will be distributed in 75 countries,” says Lesmana, whose two passions are drawing and coffee. Drawing, she says, is a universal language to describe feelings and emotion. As for coffee, it might simply be nature’s best gift. In Starbucks Lesmana has found not just the perfect place to enjoy outstanding coffee, relax, read and chat. She’s also fulfilled a lifelong goal as an artist to be recognized – something she longs to share with others out there. “I think what Starbucks has done here is very inspirational. Through its cups, Starbucks has provided new space for artists to channel their creativity. I am now are more inspired to create new artworks and I also want to encourage other artists to use non-mainstream media – like this coffee cup – to create unique works. I would like to thank Starbucks for this precious opportunity as it is a big honour for me to have been able to represent Indonesia on the international stage,” says Lesmana.