Universal Laptop Case for Cellairis

Industrial Design

Universal Laptop Case

Universal Protection:Sleek and Secure Chromebook Cases Tailored for Every Laptop Size

We were tasked with creating a universal protective case for a range of chrome books for K12 Education. These chrome-books range from 11" to 15" with a variety of brands including HP, Google, Acer and many more.
The challenge was to understand how we could take all these different profiles, edge treatments, textures, curve treatments and the various vent placements and create a universal case that fit and flexed with these various constraints. The process was an exercise of extreme attention to detail with constant iterative prototyping and idea generation.

Designing For A Universal Framework

Since this project has a particular focus on K12 students, our client tasked us to create a laptop case that was both aesthetically appealing and robust enough to offer 360° protection. It needed to withstand daily wear and tear, a prerequisite in any item designed for this demographic.
The client’s vision was clear – a result-oriented linear process. That’s where our expertise in product design services was pivotal. We kick-started the journey with in-depth market research, dissecting product structures and pricing trends. This helped us spot opportunities to distinguish our design and establish a unique direction.

The research brought to light some products that paralleled our goals. But we wanted more than just a mirror image. Our industrial design consultation process led us to delve deeper into their mechanics and materials. This intense analysis was instrumental in exploring alternative design paths, steering clear of existing market repetitions.

A well-rounded understanding of the product, the market, and user challenges set the stage for a clear design direction. By applying the principles of professional industrial design services, we developed simple mechanisms that were easy to manufacture. Our aim was to achieve a minimalistic design that subtly conveyed functionality through colour and material choices. We also factored in a modular product architecture for added versatility.

We started with studying a lot of data from which we were able to ascertain certain patterns and clear areas of moving around to understand what is possible. Every product that is designed has to be scalable to various scenarios and to do that we need to create and design product architecture’s that can be scaled to a larger extent.

Harnessing All In One

Throughout this initial stage, we systematically explore diverse solutions and variations tailored to address specific issues. This methodical approach serves as the cornerstone for resolving challenges faced by existing cases, focusing on issues of bulkiness, lack of personalization and style, and the perceived difficulty in putting on the case.
1. Bulkiness and Difficulty in Carrying:
Our investigation into existing cases revealed a prevalent issue of bulkiness, making them cumbersome and inconvenient for users on the move. To tackle this, we explored sleeker designs and lightweight materials, optimising portability without compromising on protective capabilities. Through a synthesis of form and function, we aimed to create a solution that seamlessly integrates into users' lifestyles, providing both protection and ease of mobility.

2. Lack of Personalisation and Style:
Recognising the demand for personalised and stylish solutions, we focused on incorporating customisable elements into our design process. By offering a range of aesthetic choices and personalisation options, we aimed to elevate the user experience, transforming the case from a mere functional accessory to a style statement that aligns with individual preferences.

3. Difficulty in Putting On the Case:
Addressing concerns about the perceived difficulty in putting on a case, our design process prioritised user-friendly features. Through innovative mechanisms and intuitive designs, we aimed to simplify the case application process, ensuring that users can effortlessly and securely attach the case to their devices.Through innovative solutions, we aim to redefine the user experience in the realm of protective cases.

Bringing the Product to Life

A notable aspect of our design process was the exploration of fitting multiple laptops into a single enclosure. This novel approach sought to optimise space and functionality, addressing the practical needs of users. Each conceptual iteration underwent careful scrutiny and refinement, with orthographic views being pivotal in articulating the material choices, manufacturing details, and the overall product design.
In our pursuit of innovative design solutions, we adopted a systematic approach guided by a clear vision of our conceptual goals. Beginning with this vision, we translated our ideas into tangible forms through meticulously crafted sketches. These sketches served as a crucial means of communication, effectively conveying the intricate mechanisms, intentions, and unique features to both our clients and engineering teams. The emphasis was on clarity, ensuring that every aspect of the design direction was comprehensible from the outset. This detailed documentation was instrumental in aligning our concepts with the goals outlined in the design direction.

Diversity in scale and proportion played a crucial role in defining a cohesive design language that resonated with a broad user base. Our concepts were not only aesthetically pleasing but also carefully tailored to meet the diverse preferences of our target audience. Through an iterative design and engineering cycle, each concept underwent thorough scrutiny to ensure adherence to the primary requirements established in the design direction.

The client engagement process involved presenting a range of carefully developed options, granting them the flexibility to choose the design that best suited their specific needs. Once a concept was selected, our focus shifted to the meticulous detailing of individual features. This phase involved an in-depth examination of each component to guarantee seamless integration with the overall design. Detailed sketches played a pivotal role in communicating these intricacies, ensuring a shared understanding among all stakeholders involved in the project.

As we progressed into the final engineering stage, our commitment to precision and communication remained unwavering, underscoring our dedication to transforming conceptual visions into tangible, functional realities.

Redefining Laptop Protection

The essence of our design went beyond merely providing industry-leading protection; it embodied innovation with unique corner molding designed to withstand drops and cover a substantial area. Notably, the corners of the case were engineered to flex, ensuring adaptability to different laptop sizes, a feature that set our design apart in terms of versatility.
Undertaking the challenge of crafting a universal laptop case capable of accommodating Chromebooks spanning a size spectrum from 11″ to 14″ presented a formidable task. Undeterred, we embraced the challenge and not only met but exceeded the project brief, without compromising on any front.

Addressing the fundamental challenges inherent in designing a universal laptop case, our solution brought about substantial cost savings, totaling over USD 135,000 in tooling expenses. This financial efficiency was achieved through a combination of thoughtful design considerations, optimized manufacturing processes, and a keen eye on material usage. The cost-effectiveness of our solution was not at the expense of quality or functionality; rather, it showcased our commitment to delivering innovative solutions that align with both practical and budgetary requirements.

Beyond the tangible benefits, our design played a pivotal role in establishing a consistent product line language for all laptop enclosures within Cellairis’ broader product portfolio. This unified design language not only contributed to a cohesive brand identity but also enhanced user familiarity and experience across different products. The synergies created by our universal laptop case design resonated throughout the product line, reinforcing a sense of continuity and reliability for users engaging with various offerings within the brand.

In summary, our response to the challenge of creating a universal laptop case not only delivered superior protection and adaptability but also yielded substantial cost savings and fostered a unified product line language. This achievement underscored our commitment to pushing the boundaries of design innovation while ensuring practicality, cost-efficiency, and brand coherence in our solutions.

Optimising Cooling and Versatility

To optimize heat dissipation for a variety of laptops, we thoroughly analyzed the placement of their heat vents on the back. To illustrate the internal workings of the enclosure, we used transparent material to showcase the flexible straps located inside.
These straps, which are present in all four corners, enable the enclosure to accommodate various sizes of Chromebooks. By incorporating flexible corners into the design, we were able to achieve a versatile fit that accommodates different laptop profiles and edge details. Additionally, we implemented a closed hinge design that provides ample protection for the Chromebooks in the event of a fall. Our heat vents cover a large surface area, allowing for optimal heat dissipation, and the co-molding details ensure that the enclosure is both lightweight and thin while remaining protective.

To create a stable mount with proper weight distribution, we made a few design modifications such as shifting the center of gravity and relocating the cable to the back of the product. This not only ensures that the cable doesn’t hinder any controls on the dashboard but also allows it to be routed through areas that are away from the main dashboard, providing a cleaner and more organized look.

We then designed a concave surface at an angle to accommodate these vents, allowing for better circulation of cold air to enter and hot air to be expelled. By reducing heat buildup on the flat surface, we were able to improve the overall cooling performance of the laptop.

To ensure the protection of the laptop hinge in case of a drop, we opted for a strong TPU hinge with a serrated inner design. This unique design allowed for flexibility and protection, while also accommodating the 360º hinge feature found on most of the laptops we designed for. The TPU material provides durability and shock absorption while the serrated inner ensures a secure fit and protection.

Prototyped to Perfection

We collaborated with our vendor partners to prototype the finalised concepts using various techniques, including cast urethane molds, CNC machining blocks of plastic and using transparent plastic to convey a sense of lightness. Our team created functional 3D models to test out scale, proportion, function, and fit rather than focusing solely on aesthetics.
We also used co-molded details to enhance the product’s functionality and create a cohesive design. The prototype and final concept underwent several discussions with the factory to refine details while maintaining design integrity. This phase was lengthy, as it involved balancing pricing with design updates and addressing material sourcing challenges to create a robust working prototype before mass manufacturing hundreds of thousands of units in a mold.

We initiated the process by collecting extensive data, then analyzing it to identify patterns and areas ripe for exploration. Leveraging CAD design services, we imported laptop models into our software, compiling them into a single file. This meticulous process helped us build a universal design language focusing on form, function, and familiarity, fostering seamless user interaction with the product.

To design a universal enclosure for 7-10 different laptop models, we had to take into account their varying dimensions, ports, and other functional details. We created a mapping of all these placements to determine where we could take liberties dimensionally and still maintain the design integrity of the product. To test this, we created mockups of each laptop model and overlaid them in CAD and paper models. This rigorous testing helped us identify the most efficient and practical design for a universal enclosure.

From Corner to Corner: Achieving Excellence in Laptop Protection

The impact of this project extends far beyond the creation of a universal laptop case. By successfully navigating the intricate challenges of accommodating Chromebooks ranging from 11" to 14", we not only delivered superior protection and adaptability but also achieved significant cost savings of over USD 135,000 in tooling expenses. Our design established a consistent product line language, enhancing brand identity and user familiarity across diverse laptop enclosures. The meticulously engineered features, such as flexible corners, optimised heat dissipation, and a strong TPU hinge, culminated in a stellar user experience. This project exemplifies our commitment to pushing design boundaries and achieving excellence.


  • Industrial Design
  • Market Research
  • Style Guide
  • Conceptualisation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Product Architecture
  • Product Visualization
  • Prototyping
  • Production Support


2017 – 2019



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