The Edge School of Creative and Business had a problem. They had four MacBook Airs for students to use for research and production in class, but no way to - at a glance - identify which laptops in the class were theirs, and which belonged to the students.

I needed to design a visual way to quickly see which laptops are being used and where they are within the classroom. The solution had to be something made up using the resources available in the classroom, so as not to cost a large amount of money.

The Solution

It quickly became clear to me that the Roland printer we have in the classroom, for printing and cutting vinyl, would be a great resource to use. We could print labels for each laptop, or perhaps even a skin to cover the whole back of the MacBook Air.

After discussions with the head of school, we decided to wrap the back of each MacBook in a distinctively coloured vinyl, showing the school logo. This would allow for quick identification and tracking during the class, whilst also marking the laptops as belonging to the college.

The Process

I started by finding and downloading a decal template for the 13” MacBook Air. This would save me a lot of time measuring, shaping and testing before printing the decal. As the template was a PDF, I could simply import it into Illustrator, trace the lines, and have a template to use for all four laptop vinyls.

Image showing the green laptop skin set up in Adobe Illustrator.
Illustrator is used to add the cut lines, using a custom swatch pack.

Once the lines were traced in, I chose four distinct and non-distracting colours for the laptop lids. Green, yellow, blue and lilac were chosen, from the Roland Colour Chart we have in the classroom. I then coloured the Apple logo black, so as to cover up the laser-cut logo and the light it emits.

Image showing the green and blue laptop skins set up in Roland VersaWorks Dual.
VersaWorks Dual converts the EPS file we created in Illustrator into data for the printer.

Once the four files were created and a cut line was added, I loaded the resulting .ESP files into Roland VersaWorks Dual, ready to be printed. I checked the sizing, cut marks, and alignment of the wraps on the vinyl material before sending them to print.

Picture of a 13-inch MacBook Air, before it has been skinned.
MacBook, you shall be naked no longer!

Once printed and allowed to dry, each wrap was applied to its respective laptop. Each MacBook Air was given a quick clean with methylated spirits, before applying the wrap using application tape and a squeegee. Any air bubbles were popped using a weeder, and the air pushed out using the squeegee.

Picture of the four skins - blue, green, yellow and purple - fresh out of the printer.
The skins are printed and ready to go.

The Result

The result is four great-looking MacBook Airs. Students and staff love them. They are distinct from any MacBook a student would bring in, branded with the school’s logo, and easy to see wherever they are in the classroom.

Some students have already enquired about having their own, custom wraps made for their personal laptops.

Picture of the four skins applied to their MacBooks and displayed on a table.
My first attempt at product photography.

Picture of the four skins applied to their MacBooks and displayed vertically.
Next time, I think I should skin 7 laptops so I can have a full rainbow.