Behold the coffee lid – gateway to hot caffeinated energy for the drinker on-the-go.

Signifier – the text used on the lid serves as an interface between the contents of the cup and eyes of the user (coffee drinker). In this sense, the lid itself (sign) is a specifically formed hunk of plastic that simultaneously maintains temperature within the cup and prevents spilling. It is a seal, separating the contents of the cup from the outside world. It is also an interface, creating a small point of interaction between contents and the outside world for the express purpose of consuming what is inside.

Signified – The lid, as a whole, represents the contents of the cup. The text on the lid itself is representative of its contents. Although this particular lid has no marks on it, labels are present so that the coffee can be marked as decaf or regular. More broadly speaking, the lid represents the fact that the contents of the cup are something that is desirable (due to it’s ability to interface) but that also should be kept contained. The label of it as a “traveller” lid points to the fact that the contents are meant to travel. This speaks to the social context of the consumption of the contents. This is not something that should maintain a high degree of attention (to avoid spills) nor is it something that should always be enjoyed in the same place. The lack of ornament and the general cheapness of construction speaks to an item that is disposable – it serves its purpose briefly, and then can be tossed aside, only to be replaced by another just like it.

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