Ahh the world of iPhone case designs. It seems that ever since Apple posted the iPhone blueprints for case designers, it is impossible to escape ‘the next big thing in iPhone case design’…especially when it involves 3D printing. Perhaps Graft Concepts is one of the more unique case designers, however. By creating a system of interchangeable backplates, a user can swap out various ‘functions’ of their case for whatever the day/night brings them, such as a card case backplate that functions as a wallet for those nights on the town where carrying anything ‘extra’ doesn’t make much sense. Now, Graft is teaming up with Shapeways to create an open-source backplate design contest in hopes of discovering new uses for that age-old iPhone case design. Want to give it a go? Here’s what you need to know.

The Graft Concepts Leverage Case

YouTube video

Created by a small design team in Southern California, Graft is focused on the user experience perhaps more so than most other case designers. By integrating a modular system into an otherwise static object, the iPhone case itself has the potential to become a myriad of different products with various functions. While the case may stray a bit from the iPhone’s elegant and minimal form, perhaps this is a scenario where the function is just so convenient….it doesn’t matter. The case was crafted with a clasp that secures the backplate system onto the iPhone. Considering the task at hand, this was done somewhat elegantly with strong consideration as to not affect too much of the iPhone’s original design. Engineered by the Swiss and manufactured by hands, this is one of the better functional iPhone cases we’ve seen in awhile.

Product Development:






Graft Concepts x Shapeways

In harmony with the modular nature of their product, Graft designed their case with 3D printing in mind so that any user could create their function-specific backplate that best suits their needs. They have even supplied three templates on their site and along with Shapeways, are offering $500 of Shapeways credit and four iPhone cases for the winning backplate design:

“When we designed the Leverage i5, we had 3D printing in mind. We specifically made the thickness of the backplate to match the tolerances of popular 3D printing materials. We wanted anybody to be able to design and print backplates for our Leverage i5 case. So here we are, releasing 3D fies of our backplates free of charge. Anyone may share, modify and make commercial use of the work, all we ask is that you drop a link in your file description to our site at:http://www.graftconcepts.com. That means anybody can create a backplate that fits on our Leverage i5 case. We are really excited with this experiment and can’t wait to see what innovative ideas people come up with!”
-Graft Concepts Design Team




Care to give it a go? Head over to the Shapeways contest page.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.