Forget carbon-fiber monocoques and electric drivetrains, this cup is transportation design’s biggest win

The cup does for NASCAR races what the binoculars did for the Opera. Now mind you, this invention isn’t from any recent time. In fact, it was invented in 2009, over 10 years ago, and only just regained relevance after Jalopnik did a throwback. It’s simple, quirky, and a mystery as to why it never became the cultural norm post its release. Designed by Wieden+Kennedy for NASCAR and ESPN, the Cup and its unique profile helps patrons watch the race uninterrupted while sipping on a beverage of their choice.

The Cup was made as a limited-edition beer-holding vessel, to be distributed to patrons at NASCAR races as a promotional giveaway. Its cutaway shape doesn’t obstruct your vision when you’re chugging down your drink, allowing you to constantly keep your eyes on the race, even when you’re enjoying your favorite race-accompanying beverage… because using a straw to drink your beer clearly isn’t a good look for anyone! Drinking from The Cup is (or rather, was) great for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a wonderful way to show patrons you care about their user-experience, and secondly, the cup’s unique rim allows it to be used only at a particular angle, which makes it great for branding purposes because you know exactly what side of the cup faces outwards, making it perfect to print on! Sheer genius.

It’s a shame that The Cup didn’t permeate the cultural zeitgeist and find its way into the next decade, but it’s a great reminder that the internet never forgets! And who knows, if someone from NASCAR or ESPN is reading this, it may just make a comeback!

Designer: Wieden+Kennedy NY for NASCAR & ESPN