With more than 550 individually patented lids, NYU professor Louise Harpman and business partner Scott Specht co-own the world’s largest collection of coffee lids.

It’s safe to say that these two are serious collectors and it raises the question as to why we have so many lid designs?

In the video below, Harpman discusses the rise of “to-go” culture and outlines the practical challenges various coffee lid designers have attempted to address.

Fast Co writer Mark Wilson also highlights Capitalism as being partly to blame as businesses like Starbucks look to stand out from the competition through their packaging.

Whatever the reason, there is something more important to take away from this video: Design is all around us.

So much of what we use today has been carefully (and sometimes not so carefully) researched and designed and as this video demonstrates, even insignificant objects that we take for granted can have a complex history.

Worth remember next time you go for your favourite takeaway latte.

You can read more about the collection on the Cabinet Magazine website.