A2 Design project - Designers Desk

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LERsince1991, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. LERsince1991 macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Edit: Thought I would add the website to the into post

    Well for my last year in college I am designing a desk thats aimed at other designers but also is suitable for other parts of the market.

    I wanted a clean looking solution that has crisp, sharp edges with an overall minimal, sleek design.

    I have tried to integrate a lot of a designers equipment but at the same time maintain flexibility and allow different users preferences (different users like different equipment so it was important to allow for this).

    I have made the desk quite large to fit a laptop, monitor and large sheets of paper on at the same time.
    There is an area on the desk where a monitor will stand on top of, and a keyboard and mouse will fit underneath.
    There are 2 high end speakers integrated into the worktop.
    There are 3 drawers in the worktop, The left or right will be for drawing equipment and will be organized and customizable a lot like utensil drawers in some new kitchens. Places to put different pens, pencils etc...
    The middle drawer is for electronic equipment as it has a 'tunnel' at the back for cables to go through. This is big enough for small form pc's, mac minis etc.. as well as graphics pads, docks, multi-plug power adapters, hard drives etc..
    The other (left or right) is big enough to store a lot of A3 paper in and a laptop.

    The worktop is MDF which will be sealed, painted and coated in some sort of durable gloss finish, speaker grille and underneath equipment area is square perforated metal, The legs are metal and solid plastic.
    I haven't decided exactly on the types of metal or plastics.

    Also I am yet to come up with a name so if something comes to your minds please post it.

    I am about to make this design in school although I have had to work in certain constraints as we get marks for making it, not sending parts to a manufacturer.

    I have tried to show the idea from the pictures but if you have any questions or comments please ask.
    I wont bore your with all the details of how it will be made, components I will use or how parts work unless someone asks.

    I have looked into a lot of complicated ideas but in the end I believe this simple (compared to others) worked the best as a product, not a piece of bespoke furniture tailored to one person.


    Attached Files:

  2. kid rock macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2007
    Southend-on-sea, Essex, England
    Nice designs I like it, as it's meant to have a pc, why not some USB, FireWire, headphone and microphone sockets on the front/side/top of the desk?

  3. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks for your comment Simon.
    I will be fitting some ports somewhere on the monitor stand, USB, headphone, Mic, and firewire.

    The main issue I am looking into at the moment to do with the ports/buttons is a power button fitted in the same place as the ports. I am not having any luck with this idea though, i cannot find any USB power buttons which would be ideal (not sure if it is even possible). I could make a button which when pressed ran a program such as shut down or standby but a user can do this with their mouse. I don't think it is possible to turn the PC on from a fully powered down mode via a USB connection, only a low powered alternative. I could do a sleep button but a lot of keyboards have a sleep button on already.

  4. UMHurricanes34 macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Very, very cool. What your timeframe for the build?
  5. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    As I will be building it as I study for my other subjects I would probably be working a minimum of 5 hours a week, the final deadline is 12 weeks time and I'm hoping to finish sometime before the deadline as I am a fast workers once the build gets going.

    So in hours about 60 to 100 hours and a date around mid April.

    I'm about to start a detailed time plan so once that's done there's small chance I might upload a simplified version of it.

    * edit - Actually for the build I won't be starting right now so the hours would probably be about 50-90 Hours or so.
  6. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    Why not add some cool features such as an iPod Dock built into the desk? (Dock Connector coming out the desk at say 80 Degs, would look like the iPod is just balancing) Definitely a USB Hub. Maybe some Grey Felt (Or Similar Soft Tight Weave Material) To the front, where the Keyboard and mouse go? I Know i much prefer the soft resistance of a mouse mat, and the never cold feeling that you dont get with wood.
  7. spunklemonkey macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2008
    Id maybe mention that some people like to slouch in their desks which means banging their knees on yours, on the tray thing.

    How about just putting the tray at one end rather than all the way along. Ive got a pc but its only got 3 wires...

    Id get rid of the lighter grey marble and just have it black.

    Not sure what the yellow bits are with the grill but it looks a bit like it belongs in my garage not in my house. It doesnt look slick enough for a modern desk, so Id get rid of those, unless there small drawers? Thats a good idea if so, have two small drawers on each end, but Id have them plain wood and you press them to open them (no handles).

    Id also measure desks to see what the top height is on average, because some come with keyboard things like the annoying desk im using now, but another one I have is better with no keyboard shelf.

    The monitor stand should not be attached to the desk or if its going to be, which is fine, it needs to be wider. Not all monitors (pc) will fit on that shelf as its too narrow. My phillips 19" one has a round base for instance, so add a couple of inches on to that shelf because otherwise it loses some functionality for the variety of pc monitors on sale.

    Finally, the top should be white, not that strange cream colour. It just wont go in anyones house.

    You probably didnt want all this info and will ignore it, but never mind.
  8. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Good amazingly. You deserve top grades for this.
  9. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks for the input everyone. I will try to reply to all the comments made.

    Dimensions for the desk have been researched and it stands at pretty average sizes.

    770 High, 800 Deep and 1500 Wide. (mm)

    The Monitor stand is 60 High, 200 Deep and 600 Wide which I believe is big enough for most equipment?

    I do not believe that the platform at the back of the desk will be a problem, even for people slouching. The distance between the front of the desk and the front of the platform is 550mm. Although the comment about having the platform either side might work, I'll look into it.

    The 'lighter grey areas' are actually metal corners to match the grill and platform.
    The yellow bit just behind the speaker grille is a high performance speaker which are integrated each side of the worktop. The square perforated metal grille will actually have a black cloth lining on the back of it so the yellow wont be visible but the grille will be detachable so the speaker can be accessed and some people prefer the speakers showing. The speaker drivers are yellow because they are made of Kevlar.
    The monitor stand should be large enough, correct me if I'm wrong. It will be attached to the desk but not permanently, it will likely have small dowels on the bottom of it so it is help firmly in place but be removable.

    I colour is trivial at the moment. I am colour blind but I will receive good guidance for the final spry colour. I found out that actually cream fits in with most houses rather than white. Different shades of cream match with each other. Different whites don't. But white might be a purer colour to use anyway.

    I will definitely want an iPod dock in it :D At this moment it seems like the dock will be either integrated in the worktop itself (like you said) or in the monitor stand (could get in the way of the monitor).

    I think I will expand one side (or both sides) of the monitor stand to fit connectors in (Picture likely to be shown soon).

    All of these modifications are relatively small and can be altered anywhere down the line.

    Thanks for your critique and interest everyone.
  10. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
  11. ThunderRobot macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2008
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I'm not sure about a USB power button but you can certainly get a USB sleep button which will drop the power draw to 1.8w. You'd have to pop it open and do a little work on the styling of it though.

    If you're presenting it to designers who expect to be able to draw on it, I'd suggest having an option to incline the drawing surface a little towards the user. It wouldn't need much. In addition you could look at the inclusion of a light-box in the surface.

    There would be a little depth which would take a little out of your drawers but it would make it a more versatile design for your target user group.

    You may also want to consider overall lighting. It looks to me if I was to place an angle-poise on the desk there would be nowhere to either clamp it (if baseless) or manage the cables.

    I'd also be slightly wary of connecting the feet with base bars. If you've got a perfectly level floor it's fine, but if there's any bumps, rolls or even uneven carpeting it could potentially cause rocking or unstableness. Something you really want to avoid if there's drawing going on.

    Perhaps putting screw-adjustable feet on the bottom of the bars would eliminate any potential problems as you could level it to the environment.

    If you did remove the base bars, you'd definitely need some kind of ties for the legs to stop them splaying though - you may even need them on the current design for rigidity.

    But these are minor points - and not meant in any way to disappoint or uninspire you. Good luck with the project.
  12. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    ThunderRobot - Theres some good points there thanks.

    I thought Id show a couple more quick pictures to show how the size of the desk corrisponds to the average designers equipment sizes.

    These pictures show:
    - 24" monitor on the stand
    - Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse
    - Added connections on the display stand, recessed in 1cm.
    - Added Support Bar down the center of the desk
    - High performance speakers on show (metal grilles hidden)
    - Depth of monitor stand has been increased by 5cm (25cm) to allow for larger stands

    Attached Files:

  13. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Some good points here.

    What if you made the desk modular? Say, use that big drawer in the middle and offer several options: e.g., a light box installed in that spot, or it could be rigged with power and a Firewire hub and used to keep external harddrives in, etc.

    I agree on the legs - what about X-shaped bars for rigidity instead?

    Have you seen this thread? It comes close to the perfect computer desk, imo.
  14. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Damn, I wrote a long detailed reply and firefox just crashed...
    I'll try to sum it up a bit. I don't want to write it all again.

    err where was I... I have actually spent about 6 months researching different possibilities and ways of creating the desk. My original brief was a fully integrated solution which integrated everything, light box, lighting, computer, hard drives, speakers, keyboard, monitor etc... but, in summary, I ran into a lot of problems, price, flexibility etc.. to keep the product appealing to a wide market it was important to make the desk able to take everyones equipment and let them place the things in the right places, not to tell them where they should and shouldn't place things and what equipment to have.

    The middle drawer is designed to take electronics as it has a sort of tunnel at the back of it leading to the equipment area under the desk. this is big enough to fit hard drives, docks, hubs, power supplies etc.. etc... in.
    To fit a light box in could be possible at a time and cost. The more options there are the more the price and availability time would be. As it is, users can place the equipment they want into which area they want it (including power sockets with extension cables).

    Heres some pictures trying to show the cable channeling.

    I am aware of that thread by fivepoint and have followed it from start to finish. Although it's very impressive its more of a bespoke piece of furniture and not a product.
    I don't really want to alter the legs as this is the design I have stuck with at the end of 6 months worth and changing it to an x design would ruin the look in my eye.

    Also thanks for all the input and interest, I do really appreciate it!
    Cheers, Luke

    Attached Files:

  15. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    What about heat?

    While I like the idea i'd be afraid to leave HDDs in there, although one or two would be fine.

    The ideal solution (for me) would have to have sort of a two or three tier tray on the on the side , or actually, directly under your wiring area in the back (unless that's already what it is there for).

    I do like the little thing that looks like a USB hub and audio jacks, but it would be a winner if you were to offer an expandable solution as well as additional add ons. Perhaps an outlet which will go from the desktop area to the users surge protector, a usb hub (as indicated), a firewire hub, maybe even an ethernet hub.
  16. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Yes the square perforated metal area under the worktop at the back is also for computer equipment. It will have different sections and levels but I have not got round to designing this part yet but it wont take long. I have put levels in my sketches but not on the CAD model.

    Heating would be an issue but I would advise that the middle drawer would be for equipment that wont have much heat produced. Likes, phones, personal music players, docks, some hard drives, etc.. whatever the user wants to. Maybe even a small sound mixer for audio engineering :)
    Oh I might add that the inside of the middle drawer might be leather lined to protect such things like iPods and phones from getting scratched but that's just a possibility. I would like it but to many people it could be unnecessary added cost.

    Yes the small hub under the monitor stand could be expandable and interchangeable. It's a possibility depending on if I will have time, these could be sold separately and simple to add on.

    Cheers mate :cool:
  17. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
    Those speakers aren't pointing at the person seated in the desk but someone sitting 2 meters behind. I understand the choice on aesthetic grounds but not functional. Speakers firing vertically from the same corner, or the back corners would probably sound better.
  18. spunklemonkey macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2008
    Looks much better white in pictures. Suppose it was just the other renders.

    Looks really good, perhaps an external hard drive holder or even mobile phone holder, pen holder might be cool (things I always need!).

    A more bizarre idea would be a cup holder that goes down a bit like a tube, so it cant fall over?
  19. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Just a quick update:

    I have an appointment to go into a couple of factories on thursday 22nd to discuss how the legs will be produced and also to order some materials like the square perforated metal and also see a spray factory.

    I have started making the worktop now and nearly all the wood has been cut out to size to the exact mm. The school technician is being very patient with my perfectionism. By the end of next week all the wood should be cut out with all the required cut-outs and profiles complete ready for a dry assembly.

    I have been looking into ways to incoperate a light box in the top panel of the worktop. I have 9mm height to fit the light into. I've came across a type of paper called EL (ElectroLuminesce) paper. It costs about £50 for A4 or £80 for A3 size and glows well. It has a lifespan of nearly 3x the life of an LED so its good.

    The next stages will be making the 3x drawers and 1x drawing tools organiser along with the monitor stand. Source and buy some soft closing drawer runners that extend out 500mm, source some other parts and finalise some small details in the design.

    Heres a couple renders of the newest version displaying how it could be used. I'm not sure why the worktop is gray because it should be pure white, I think its the lighting.

    I will be posting some photos when there is something to look at :) The first photos will probably be the dry assembly of the worktop.

  20. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Personally, if the desk is tall enough, then under-desk keyboard holder would give user more usable space. I had a desk that had a >90CM wide keyboard drawer. Really useful, but that prevents drawers in the keyboard area.

    Otherwise keep in mind that pc keyboards sometimes are much wider and taller than Apple keyboards. 60CM is only wide enough for some keyboard with no mouse.

    iPod dock (for charging) would be nice.

    Does monitor stand have enough space for a 30" LCD? Note your picture the LCD stand is ON TOP of your cable pass through hole.

    Only happens if the desk is not tall enough.

    Glass is very heavy and very expensive (for non-green glass) for something that size, not to mention fragile.
  21. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Some great thinking here...

    I also have to reiterate, however, the comment about speaker placement.

    if you are interested in creating a "professional" desk where someone can edit audio (I am an interaction designer and do so frequently), the speakers should be at ear level and carefully isolated from the desk structure itself.

    I would also want the speakers to be quite a bit larger.
  22. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Heres some pictures with different sized screens:
    17" Then 24" Then 30"
    The 30" would fit and be supported but I might extend the stand slightly. This will make it fit with the size of a 30" display better and add a bit of extra space for larger keyboards. I did think that 55cm (60-5 for hub) would be enough for the majority of keyboards but I'll investigate that a bit more before I build it.

    The renders a bit a cleaner and softer than the previous ones because I had more time so Instead of 15 to 20 passes I used 50 which blended all the light better, I changed the brightness so its a bit closer to white.

    The 17" display seems to be dwarfed by the scale of the desk but who would have a 17" monitor if they were serious about design and computing.

    The 24" seems to fits perfectly. I did try to make it suit a 24" display as this is the norm for a designer's screen.

    The 30" display fits but it looks out of proportion, it may look better in real life but I will have to see about that. I will be trying to get some apple equipment for a photoshoot once it has all been done.

    My current (and crappy) desk has a keyboard tray which I do find useful but then the wires are hanging under the desk and from a front view all the 'stuff' that is on the tray is in view. I also found that they feel cheap. A sheet of wood that slides out with cheap runners that are prone to breaking. (personal experience)

    I will try to make the speakers with high end components but I agree the positioning of the speakers arn't in ideal positions. I felt that this would have to be a comprimise that was nessicery to keep the simple-ness of the worktop intact. I have tried my curent speakers in this position and it did lack some high notes but it wasn't really noticiable. It felt/sounded quite wierd as the sound seemed to be inside my head, not infront and not behind... strange but cool feeling

    - Also added note that it's my birthday on the 22nd March and I'm hoping to have it done by then which means stepping it up a gear. I may be getting a new 2.4Ghz aluminium Macbook for my 18th too which will help me through uni.

    I’ve made a scale cut-out on the top right of the worktop so I can try to accommodate an iPod Dock.

    When a large display is on the stand it does seem to block some of the cable hole but I've measured it and it should be enough for the needed cables so no worries there.

    The wood for the worktop has been delayed so I'm going to be making the drawers tomorrow instead of the worktop but I think I will still have time.

    Last small update about mods to the workstation is that I've made it some cm’s higher to make the side view perfectly square.

    Also I don't think I will be getting the EL lighting paper in the worktop due to costs and not knowing much about how to use el paper despite being in contact with a supplier that is awaiting a reply for the order.

    Sorry for such long posts lol, there’s so much sections to speak about it ends up looking like an essay.
  23. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    If this was a desk i was designing, i would have added a few pieces of 'Flair'

    Some Nice Exposed Drives pointing upwards on the desk, who doesnt love watching a speaker move as you listen to music?

    Build in a Graphics Tablet

    Remove the monitor Stand (Alot of Monitors are already suited to a good height, adding a few CM more.... :S)

    Be able to have sections of the work surface raise out for Drawing.

    Drink Chiller / Warmer (Those like mats)

    thats all i can think of while staying in current technology.
  24. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    I'm just going to put it as I see it and these are just quick observations :)

    If the table is designed for a designer that uses paper -
    • There should be the option to tilt the top, most pen based designers still use drawing boards of some sort, plus from an ergonomic standpoint a slanted work surface is generally better.
    • Theres no where to attach a wide rule/straight edge or anyway of making the paper straight.
    • Theres no option for a lightbox, something that if its aimed at the 'pen' artist is a useful addition - the modular option would be a good idea here. I'm pretty certain the el paper you mentioned doesn't stand up to pressure too well.
    • No easy access to pens, paper etc, the drawers are directly in front of where you are sitting which isn't easy access in my opinion - maybe have a lift up flap/well area for storing pens while working. Pulling out a tray seems a little bit poor considering you're aiming this at the design market - using a tray isn't really any different to a generic table is it.
    • Nowhere to store large size paper - people work on larger than a3 :)
    If the table is designed for a designer that uses a pc -
    • not suitable for a dual monitor setup
    • the height of the keyboard storage wouldn't cater for an ergonomic keyboard like the ms natual range.
    • no where to put an a3 or larger printer
    • don't think a scanner would fit in anywhere either
    • idea of sticking graphics tablet in drawer using cable tunnel isn't the best idea when you want it outside the drawer - cable gets stuck in drawer.
    • If its aimed at the imac, why have the speakers, to be of any use they would need to be powered plus as said not ideal placement.
    • I'd have concerns over the thickness of the desk, consider your natural ergonomics when using a keyboard at a desk - there isn't a great deal of distance between the top of your legs and your hands/arms.
    • if you're aiming at the mac pro then you haven't got any cable runners anywhere near where the pro would likely be placed (down by one of the legs most likely)
    • Nowhere for a ups, your metal grid thing underneath wouldn't hold the weight safely.
    From a personal perspective I'm not keen on the look of it. It doesn't really look like something I would want in my office. Its also as it stands now impractical for my requirements and I would require more space than I already do.

    Another thing to consider when trying to design for 2 or more completely different requirements (pen and pc designers for example) it can make a design worse than whats already out there.

    Oh and by the way a bespoke table mentioned earlier is just as much a product as a mass produced one, it goes through the same development process but has a more individual set of criteria to adhere to which are often stricter than those of a mass produced product. You could also argue at this moment in time that your table is a bespoke product as its not being put into mass production.
  25. jdl8422 macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2006
    Im not sure if anyone else agrees with me, but Im wondering if the monitor stand is too far back? Im guessing the stand is fixed to the desk? If I had the desk I would like to use the stand, but I would hate it if it was too far back. I could be wrong. I would also loose the grey parts on the leg.

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