ACCESSORIES

It’s all in the details when award-winning Jesper Ståhl designs Version 3 case for Nudient

We all need one. And we may think that they all look the same. That’s until we let one of Scandinavia’s most prominent designers dive into every element of designing smartphone cases.
By JOHAN MGANUSSON
November 19, 2020

If you ask Jesper Ståhl, success is always sprung out of a good collaboration. 

— Find the right people and success will find you, he states.

Well known for his timeless, classically Scandinavian designs, he’s a three-time champ at the Elle Decoration Design Awards and winner of the Red Dot Design Award. With a strong focus on attention to detail and to the product user and a particular interest in technology design, he was the perfect collaboration partner for Nudient.

The Stockholm-based mobile accessories brand is a strong and established player in northern Europe. Additionally, the company partnered up with one of the biggest distributors in the world last year, reaching a global perspective within e-commerce and retail shops across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.

— Our product strategy includes to bring in designers and no other brand within this industry has collaborated with a designer like Jesper Ståhl before, says co-founder Max Andersson, adding that Ståhl’s perspective from the world of furniture and lighting industry was a segment that was missing on the market.

— Apparently so, as the sales from the collaboration has been far more successful than we ever could have imagined.

Version 3 features three layers of rubberized material which is both comfortable to hold yet easy to slide into your pocket. Throughout the one-year-long design process, an essential part for Ståhl was that of simplicity. Or, understated elegance.

— We wanted to have the experience of a slim case, a precise fit to each phone, omitting details such as cover or flaps over buttons, he explains. We also integrated magnets in the thin back in order to offer accessories such as a credit card leather wallet. Furthermore, we have chosen a palette of seven colors for each version of the case, reflecting the Scandinavian taste, from subtle black and blue and not to mention the popular ”Clay Beige” to the more bold ”Saffron Yellow”. All in a soft matte finish. Be bold or subtle, your choice!

You may think that this kind of smartphone cases all look the same.

— It is all about the details. They make such a big difference in a product you carry with you and use every day. The thin design, the matte finish, and the precise fit was only the beginning. Introducing magnets was something new — now also adopted by Apple — where our case design is well aligned with their solution which is great. Omitting details is just as important as adding, so all not necessary details are simply not there in order to get a clean design, with chamfers around the holes for buttons to add precision feel, the frame around the camera to avoid the camera to be too easily damaged. Also, look closely at the iPhone 12 case back, you might think it is all flat, but it is not, as a slightly convex form adds to the feeling. We also have an inside felt, for a quality feeling and to avoid scratching the iPhone back. On the felt, we have a kind of hidden message, which only the owner knows is there. Sophistication at its best is often something not obvious for everyone but known by you. Call it a greeting from the designer to the user.

”We have discussed split lines and 0.01 mm offsets one day and tuning the level of matte coating the other.” 

How was the design process?

— In my work, the process is just as important as the result. The challenge is often to keep the focus on that very feeling you want to achieve throughout the process. After a conceptual phase of exploring different expressions of design, we early on worked closely with the producing factory. The 3D data is done by me in detail with the limitation and possibilities stated by the factory, explored and refined by 3D printed models, color samples, tooling challenges, and visualizations. An open three-part dialogue between brand, designer, and factory was essential. Pushing boundaries until we were all satisfied. We have discussed split lines and 0.01 mm offsets one day and tuning the level of matte coating the other. 

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