We’ve all been there. You have a cup of hot coffee in a paper to-go cup with a lid, but when you go to take a sip the contraption betrays your trust and you spill hot liquid on yourself.
Design is supposed to solve problems like this, but the coffee cup lid is one of those odd objects that has never been perfected. A new book called Coffee Lids, by the architects Louise Harpman and Scott Specht, chronicles the decades-long history of an object you’ve probably never thought about in much detail–except to curse it when the inevitable drips occur. The compendium features hundreds of coffee lid designs, organized into a taxonomy that distinguishes between the peels, the pinches, the puckers, and the punctures.