Technology has become such a fixture in our lives that it’s easy to ignore it. Of course that might have something to do with the fact that the aesthetics of that tech is often mind-numbingly boring. Phone, laptop, e-reader, and tablet manufacturers put out a range of options every year designed to appeal to those whose preferences run toward black, silver, white, or gunmetal. The rest of us are left researching cases in the hope that we’ll find something that’s equally cool and durable.
It used to be that customizing a device’s looks meant applying stickers if you didn’t have the time for a full mod, but nowadays there are a wide variety of options to customize everything from smartphones to cameras. Your technology might not be unique in and of itself but there are lots of things you can do – on the cheap, even – to give your gear unique-to-you style. Here are just some ideas:
Design a custom case for your phone, tablet or laptop.
Uncommon, unYOUsual, ArtsCow and Zazzle will let you put any image on a custom case. Show off your love of Doctor Who or a photo of your kids with a case featuring favorite characters, artwork or anything else you can dream up or design.
Find a device that’s stylish right out of the box.
The Samsung Batman edition Galaxy S7 is the same S7 Edge that hit the market in 2016 but with a twist – the phone itself has not just gold touches but also a gold Batman logo on the back, and it’s packaged with a golden Batarang, making it the perfect device for any Batman fan. The release of this limited-edition device celebrates the third anniversary of “Injustice: Gods Among Us”, so why not gear up and enjoy your new Batman phone and enjoy a plethora of games with immersive graphics from the fastest mobile processor on the market.
Re-skin what you have.
If you don’t need a lot of protection from the elements and accidents, you can give everything from phones and tablets to personal medical devices a new look with off the shelf or custom skins. Distinctive options you won’t see everywhere include wood skins and skins that change color like a classic mood ring.
Get crafty and DIY a new look for your device.
One step up from stickers, washi tape can add color to cases and keyboards. Cross stitch a tablet cover or use FIMO to turn boring flash drives into super cool accessories. Or hit the forge and craft a metal shell. Need instructions? Hit up Instructables or grab the book Dress Your Tech, which has plenty of low tech ideas for making high tech devices look cooler.
Look for something really different.
With 3D printing going mainstream there are now plenty of print-it-yourself phone and tablet case patterns out there – want a knuckleduster case or maybe something with a built in kickstand? No problem.
One word of warning: what’s eye-catching isn’t always hard-wearing and vice versa. Only you know how much abuse your devices have to withstand on any given day – customize accordingly. Then again, chances are that if you have kids or pets or a job or hobby that takes you outdoors you know that protection has to come before style. In that case look for skins that are compatible not with your device but with the case it’s in. You’ll still have plenty of options but you won’t have to worry that one slip will mean game over.
Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer who enjoys writing about gadgets, apps and the latest tech news. Follow her on Twitter.