ICON Backpack: Behind the design.

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How the ICON became iconic.

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Since we released the ICON Backpack in 2014, it has not only been one of our bestsellers and most sought out by creatives all over the world, but it has also gone on to win covetable industry awards. Although we didn’t necessarily anticipate the gracious accolades, we did know that we were creating a backpack like no other, a signature backpack for our brand—an “icon” that truly represents a better experience through good design, and something we’re extremely proud of.

The ICON Backpack is the ultimate tech-optimized, intentional carrying solution—exactly what we set out to do when creating its original version: The Tech Backpack. Our heritage design was a game-changer—it was the first backpack that truly embodied the mobile office. We carefully crafted it into a truly intentional, tech-forward form with superior, integrated comfort features for carrying and intelligent storage and organization for MacBook, iPad, iPhone, tech and office accessories, documents and much more. And, unlike other backpacks, our design was fully structured, so it stands upright without flopping over, enhancing its ease of use.

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"Our heritage design was a game-changer—it was the first backpack that truly embodied the mobile office."

But what really set this innovative bag apart is the incorporation of an interior protective lining foreign to backpack design at the time. We took learnings from our experience in designing guitar bags (including an exclusive collaboration with musician John Mayer) and applied it to MacBook protection. It clicked: Just like a guitar is an artistic instrument for the musician, a MacBook is an artistic instrument for the creative; and each must be equally and carefully protected. So, we took the soft, faux-fur lining you commonly see in guitar (and other musical instrument) cases and integrated it into our backpack design as a way to gently cushion devices. And now this plush protective feature has become the industry standard.

 

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"We optimized the backpack for the modern Apple ecosystem and perfected every feature and function while extracting the superfluous."

In 2013, as a small team of three designers, we took the iconic Tech Backpack and officially transformed it into the present-day ICON. As our sole focus for a full year and through multiple iterations of refinement, we optimized the backpack for the modern Apple ecosystem and perfected every feature and function while extracting the superfluous. In fact, it took us 10 rounds of sampling designs to get it to where it needed to be (other companies commonly cap out at around four rounds). To us, that’s not indicative of getting it wrong too many times; it’s a sign that we weren’t willing to stop until we got it exactly right. We believe in the iteration process in order to create a premium, high-quality product that will not only make a big impact on the user, but will last for an extraordinarily long time and, therefore, not make a big impact on the environment. We are not fast fashion, so our products will not need to be replaced often, if ever.

Of course, aesthetic is also key. The exterior design of the ICON is classic, minimal with outstanding comfort features. Internally, the ICON is intentional, intricate yet intuitive. We did the math: It takes 219 parts and 239 steps to produce the ICON Backpack. It’s a genuine labor of love, all to ensure the end user has the best experience possible.

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