While Apple’s industrial design team is known to sweat every last detail of a new product in their top-secret lab, a not-too-secret team of aftermarket hardware customizers at the ColorWare facility in Winona, Minnesota have been turning back the clock to keep the characteristics of yesterday’s Apple industrial design alive in 2016.

Founded on the idea that electronic devices could be more appealing than the standard colors offered by the original manufacturer, the ColorWare team designs, disassembles, paints and reassembles existing consumer electronics for customers looking for something that sets them apart from the rest.

More recently, the team has created an impressive lineup of 80s-inspired Apple hardware customizations including “updates” to the iPhone 6S, the Magic Mouse and Keyboard, the iMac and most recently, the MacBook.




Says the ColorWare team:

“What’s the Retro look? It’s inspired by the Apple IIe, but with the sleekness and power of the current 12″ MacBook. The design is reminiscent of the 1980s. The rainbow logo illuminates when the machine is powered up. The putty color and faux vents add to the nostalgia without taking away any of the features of the current MacBook that you love.”

To highlight the collection, the company recently teamed up with YouTuber Jonathan Morris to build a “Dream Desk” with the Retro setup:

YouTube video

While the ColorWare team is yet to release a behind-the-scenes look at their customization process for the Retro collection, this separate project for a custom Macbook Pro gives us a pretty good idea of what’s involved:

YouTube video


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.