The New Mouse Pad
Grovemade’s original desk collection was born in 2014. In the last few years, we’ve redesigned the desk tray, keyboard tray, wrist rest, and desk shelf, but one was missing: the mouse pad. The time had come to redesign it, and here’s what we did...
Why Change?
The mouse pad was Ken’s favorite piece from the original collection. It was such a classic that it was hard to imagine redoing it. The team had casually tossed the idea around, over time realizing that the mouse pad was beginning to look out of place among newer Grovemade products. Plus, the manufacturing process was finicky, making it difficult to ensure a high quality product every time. This would only get worse as we grew.
(Original 2014 Grovemade Mouse Pad design.)

In 2014 we were trying to make the world’s best mouse pad and thought we’d accomplished it. But this is even better.

Back in 2014, the mouse pad was just the right design for the time—soft yet sturdy—a signature wood and leather Grovemade piece.

But our signature has matured since then, and our team has evolved through years of experience and trial. How could we bring the mouse pad into the modern Grovemade collection?
The Process
We began by testing out small tweaks here and there, trying to maintain the basic silhouette and materials, but we ultimately decided it needed a major shift.

We had only just completed our MagSafe and headphone stands. Those products gave off a new 'floating sensation', opting for material offsets rather than flush surfaces. It was something we wanted to carry forward to other designs.

KEN TOMITA (Co-Founder): It’s completely different than designing a product from scratch. It’s fun, and you don’t feel as lost.

We also considered key elements of the other parts of the desk collection, specifically the keyboard tray and wrist rest. Those products had a continuous thread among them: sheet metal.

With these two things in mind, we began to investigate adding an aluminum chassis, and letting offsets bring the lines and materials into relief.

SEAN KELLY (Lead Designer): There aren’t roadblocks, just points in the process where you decide how to pivot. Try everything. Try everything you can think of. Even if it doesn’t work, you learn from it.

More Considerations
We played with the transition from the mouse pad to the pen tray. What was the best way to approach that elevation change? We tried a lot of options, including a straight wall. But our prototypes led us to a gentle angle, giving the sleek profile we were going for.

SEAN KELLY (Lead Designer): That bend makes the product premium. It wouldn’t be the same without it.

Another option was to drop the pen nook down, revealing a thin line of metal running around the perimeter. This had a cool effect, but on the whole was too busy. So we kept the surface of the wood flush with the leather. This was a classic detail from the old mouse pad we decided to maintain.
As for aluminum, Sean was skeptical at first, thinking people wouldn't want a super-rigid mouse pad. But after hours of researching, he found that some even use glass or fully metal mouse pads! Confident with this new discovery, Sean began prototyping with aluminum. It matched up with the other pieces of the collection, but it also solved some of the manufacturing bottlenecks. The aluminum better withstands weather changes, flexing less over time, and is a more consistent surface to laminate the leather to.

The things that were challenging about the first mouse pad we could overcome by adding the metal.

Lead Product Designer
The Result
So an aluminum chassis it was, with leather laminated to the top and a cork foot on the bottom to maintain the grip and softness of the original, and a slope from the ground level up to the pen holder.

To round out the sturdiness of the mouse pad, we opted to use countersunk screws under the leather to securely fasten the wood pen nook to the metal chassis. The screws would be hidden from sight, and the components wouldn’t budge.
We loved it. The world’s new best mouse pad. Soft leather. Sturdy metal. Hidden fasteners. Floating offsets. A sense of impossibility resulting in a mouse pad that we find impossible to live without!
Shop the Mouse Pad
Our premium mouse pad is a layered treat—available in black or tan vegetable-tanned leather.

Further Reading