CAN You Believe the POPularity of this Design?: How the Aluminum Can is the Perfect Middle Ground of Function and Design

The ubiquity of the aluminum can is something all of us have an experience with. From supermarkets to gas stations, these beverage holders are everywhere in the U.S. They are so common, it can become hard to understand how and why we continue to use the design we have today. That is why I really enjoy this video by Bill Hammock since he goes through both the history leading up to the modern design as well as talking about the advantages and disadvantages to different container designs.

Bill Hammock showing the sphere, cylindrical can, and cuboid, respectively.

The main reason I wanted to share this video is because I thought it was interesting to see a functional design we have all experienced. Also, the aluminum can is at an interesting intersection of commercialism and functionality. Whenever I think of a can, I never really think of it in isolation, instead thinking about the types of brands and items that get put in and on it (such as Coke, Pepsi, etc.). The design, at least for me, has evolved to be much more than its functionality, yet is is good to look back at the reasoning that justifies its existence.


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