Teaching children to code
The design team we wanted for this pivotal project had to have an understanding of what Raspberry Pi was all about, an enthusiasm for helping us realise our vision and a wealth of experience we could depend upon. That team was Kinneir Dufort.”
Eben Upton. Raspberry Pi
About the Project...
The Raspberry Pi Foundation puts the power of digital making into the hands of people. Collaborating with their ‘hack-perts’, and drawing on our brand, packaging, prototyping and industrial design expertise, we created a case that embodies the true spirit of Pi; there is no set way to use or hack the case, it is down to the imagination of the user. We continue to work with Raspberry Pi to develop products that enable people to learn, solve problems and have fun.
The brief was to design an official case for the Raspberry Pi, that embodied the ethos of the foundation, and elegantly delivered the pragmatic and flexible functionality that the wide range of uses and users would demand and appreciate.
The case had to be simple to assemble, with no fixing screws or similar. It needed sufficient internal space to accommodate a wide variety of components. Furthermore, it had to be low cost, in proportion to the $35 cost of the Pi itself. And whilst there were many other technical requirements, the case really needed embody the brand personality, whilst appealing to a wide variety of users, from schoolchildren to hobbyists, tech adopters and professionals.
The project was run in close collaboration with the Raspberry Pi team, in order to align with the aspirations of the brand and foundation, and to align with the needs and wishes of the Raspberry Pi community, with whom the foundation maintain an open relationship, through social media and outreach events.
Having convened an initial immersion workshop to explore directions for the design, the KD team generated a range of concepts which addressed the brief in different ways. The project made extensive, iterative use of 3D printing to communicate the design intent and to provide hands-on involvement from the Raspberry Pi team.
The final design solution comprises a set of 6 high quality injection moulded parts:
A Base and a Top Frame into which the Raspberry Pi is located and securely held by two satisfyingly secure integral spring clips. In this condition, the case acts as a “roll cage” protecting the pcb assembly whilst providing open access to connectors on the board. Depending on the usage requires, the case may be “completed” by adding clip-on sides and top panel. A transparent light pipe provides external visibility of the status indicators.
Aesthetically, the case provides a 3D identity and embodiment of the Raspberry Pi brand. Eschewing obvious technology stereotypes the case is sleek, friendly and fun, encouraging play and adaptation. Launched with a price of £6, the case meets all the requirements of the brief, and a few more besides: hidden within the case are features to encourage hacking, such as bosses to mount additional components, and “knock-outs” features to allow the case to be wall mounted.
With over 1.1 million Pi Cases sold in the two years since its launch in May 2015, plus those sold for its smaller sibling the Raspberry Pi Zero, the case products have generated new revenue contribution and the cases have opened up new ways to use the Raspberry Pi, created new ways to bundle the core products to reach new customers, and have defined a new visual identity for the product and brand, complementing the Pi technology.
Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi:
Every time the Pi is photographed now, it’s in the case. It’s beautiful enough to become every bit as associated with Raspberry Pi as the bare pcb.
We achieved a 5% increase in Average Revenue per Unit, but it’s not just about the money, it’s about the number of people reached. It’s the mission impact that’s important.