The Design of the Disposable Coffee Cup Lid

Nice Lid!

Nice Lid!

Just a quick post to point y’all to an interesting design article…

The Atlantic Monthly online has a great series of articles on the design of everyday items – something Kandra and I have been talking quite a bit about over the last few weeks. How the good or bad design decisions that go into the objects and tools that all of us use everyday make our lives easier or harder.

It’s easy to take for granted because when done well, user experience design almost disappears, but nearly everything you interact with, no matter how seemingly modest or mundane, has had a designer’s hands and thoughts on it in some way, shape, or form. The very contours of our everyday lives are shaped by these items, from the handle on the office door that indicates whether we push or pull it, to the browser interface you’re looking at as you read this post.

Even the humble coffee go-cup plastic lid.

I had no idea about this myself, but these disposable lids are one of the most heavily designed objects around, with a devoted following, collectors, museum exhibits, and a place in NYC’s Museum of Modern Art collection “Humble Masterpieces.” The article is full of links to other plastic coffee lid resources as well.


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