The New Desk Shelf
It had been four years since we launched the original desk shelf. It was time to update. Read on to learn how we redesigned the new desk shelf, and what makes it shine.
Everyone Needs More Storage
Our design process starts with observation—and our observations showed that people need more storage. We modified the integrated aluminum shelf to span the full width between the legs, more than tripling the shelf space.
A huge increase! But each step in product design is a careful dance of tradeoffs—add one thing, take another away. In this case, we struggled to balance this with the reduced clearance under the shelf.

We agonized over the tradeoff. In the end, we trusted our observations of how people used the shelf to inform the decision.

The full width shelf brings the storage to the front, to help improve your workflow.
A Fluid Flow
As we extended the shelf, we shifted to a two-legged design. Again, this was driven by observation—removing the leg creates a full width garage to slide your desk pad, keyboard and mouse in and out. It was a pattern we saw many people using.
Above the metal shelf, we added a narrow post that secures the shelf to the wood top, provides subtle asymmetric energy, and gives you a simple compartment that's just the right size for our desk tray to slide in and out.
Pro tip: Ken uses multiple trays across the metal shelf—an optimized, multi-part storage and organization solution!
Cords, Managed
Cords are a major pain in most people's workspaces.

SEAN KELLY (Lead Designer): The visual clutter is the problem—but creating a solution requires dealing with the huge diversity of cords and devices and layouts people have. It's a tough design problem.

Our approach was to create a simple, flexible solution. We originally designed a bent curve at the back of the shelf as a way to control how far things can be pushed back—the tray now snuggly bumps the back when it's fully slid in. Then we tweaked the geometry to also deftly manage your cords by creating a narrow channel to guide them. It can accommodate any and all cord configurations—centered, left justified, right justified. It's a gently organizing fix which creates a clean look from the back.
Cutting the Chamfer
Next, we considered the legs: we increased the depth to again create more storage space on the metal shelf. This allowed us to explore the interaction between the cork and the deep chamfered edge of the shelf. The legs now cut through the face and back of the shelf, highlighting the detailed level of craftsmanship.

It's a playful cutout—breaking the chamfered plane like that makes for a really interesting energy, something I played with in my days as a furniture designer.

Always Get Better
We believe that incremental improvement is real—the workspace evolves, your needs evolve, and our product innovation team evolves. The original desk shelf was inspired by months of observation and study, seeing people in their workspaces, finding ways to improve and inspire their best work. Now, we've applied the learnings of the last four years on top. We approached the redesign with the same process and spirit. All together, it's a mature look for an old workspace friend.
Shop the New Desk Shelf
Pair the new shelf with a desk tray and desk pad for a complete workspace solution.

Further Reading