sows ear into a silk purse

I was having a discussion with a buddy and my position was that good ID could improve almost any product. His, being a combative twit :slight_smile: and having a bit of gamble in him said “ok, how would ID make a soup can look/be better?”. I open then closed my mouth and just drew a blank. How do we improve something that is so damn functional and iconic as the 2 piece metal can (now with ring opening)? Any ideas or am I going to lose 20 bucks and a bottle of crown royal? :stuck_out_tongue:

Why does it have to be a can?


Bigger logo.

  1. Make it microwave safe?

  2. Make it self heating. In this video Self-Freezing Coca-Cola - Crazy from Kong Review (Hong Kong)! - YouTube There are pressurized sodas sold in Hong Kong that can self cool. I would guess if you can self cool, you can find a way to self heat.

You could reply it’s already been done. Freeze dried bags of camp food. There’s no need for water at all. Doesn’t necessarily work for something like Campbell’s Chicken Noodle, but could (and does) for any vegetarian soup.

Why is it the can that needs to be improved?

Ultimately I’ve got to agree with engio: Make the logo bigger.

the bet is how to make the iconic soup CAN better looking/working. The self cooling one is neat, a self heating one I don’t know. I don’t think making the logo bigger will win me the bet, if pretty maxed out. These guys are pretty innovative

Easy opening is one thing. Find a way to make the can open with ZERO sharp edges, and without needing a can opener. Like a pop-up top that unseals the can, or a can that unscrews instead of needing an opener.

We’ve all struggled, right?

Why does it have to be round? It takes up more space in shipping, depending on the size doesn’t fit as well in your hand. A Squircle shape would be much easier for elderly to hold.

make the can edible!

good idea!

man easy open “wide mouth” have been around for a longgggg time, my cat gets his food out of one.

I know… but it’s still not that great. You still get a sharp (semi-sharp) edge. And pulling those pull tabs up can be difficult, especially for the elderly.

how a bit of primacord around the lid, now we are talking about easy open and a event all in one! :smiley:

I like the way you think!

There are two areas that I can think of that annoy me.

First- most cans do not stack well, this has been one of my biggest complaints while working part time in a grocery store. Some cans are designed to stack but most are not. And the cans that do stack are not all the same, and some companies often switch between types batch to batch.

Second- it always seems difficult to get everything out, something always sticks to the bottom (except in the case of canned cranberry sauce that can be wiggled out as one piece) I always end up scraping the bottom with a spoon or swirling some water to get the last bits out.

My only other thought would be to decrease the material needed for each can, like the newer chamfered tops of soda/beer cans.

I mean making the logo bigger is kind of the only way you can make a can of soup better.

Remember how when you were a kid you would make those two way soup can radio/phone things. Well maybe you could make soup better by also making it an Iphone. Pretty genius if I do say so myself

Here is away to can soup so you can eat right from the can. I would expect an IDer worked on this at some point the shape of the can fits the hand nicely.

It brings up the big question about what ID is.
In some circles, it is seen as, I have this product, make it better. So you work and develop a way to “fix” an already existing idea, like making the soup can better.
But the other road of what ID does is to focus on the experience. Why does it need to be a can? The can does what it does already. This other avenue of ID would be focusing on those issues related to using the can to come up with something innovative that may not have to be a can at all.
That’s the part of ID that a lot of people just don’t get, when they think we just “make stuff pretty” and they want to bring us in late in the project after they’ve already committed to doing a product that may not be worth doing. Something as simple as a can, I don’t think there are a ton of things you can do to it that hasn’t been mentioned, squircle shapes, tapers to make them stack better, easier opening with no sharp edges, etc… but most of those improvements are needed because you’re stuck in “can” mode. A better solution to the problem the can solves might be out there that may not end up being anything can like at all. But companies won’t get to those breakthroughs if they keep hiring IDers to just keep fixing their existing cans.

one thing about the can is the installed base, the whole process from rolling the steel, handling the material, forming, loading, palletting, shipping and stocking. Any alternative will/would have to take that into account.


Look at the system rather than just the product.

The can itself could remain almost the same, but the whole manufacturing/ transport/ post-use could be improved.

Reminds me of the Heineken square bottle- HEINEKEN WOBO: A Beer Bottle That Doubles as a Brick