Behind the Design: Year of the Dragon Capsule with Ray Dak Lam

Behind the Design: Year of the Dragon Capsule with Ray Dak Lam

It’s always such a fun experience to connect with creatives and discover new sides to our own creativity in the process. To celebrate the Lunar New Year, we enlisted the creativity of Canadian designer Ray Dak Lam to capture the Year of the Dragon in a modern and playful light for a unique capsule specially designed for Apple.
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From the very beginning, Apple has been a brand we admired. They’re what inspired our start, and to this day play a big part in what we do.

We’ve been creating for Apple’s ecosystem or products for a long time now. And throughout the years, many of our creations, some specially made for Apple, have sat on the shelves of the Apple stores you know so well, ready to power, protect, or carry your latest tech.  

This limited capsule designed for Apple was exciting for us to work on, enabling us to find new ways to live with the tech they so innovatively create. 

More so, these kinds of special projects are a great way for our in-house designers to exercise their creativity, finding ways to develop designs that speak not just to our own craftsmanship but to the unique theme, occasion or personality. Between customized editions of existing solutions and something created from the ground up, every collaboration is different and is an opportunity to discover a new way for us to create.  

The theme of this project was one close to home. While our heritage is Parisian, we also have an office in Hong Kong where Lunar New Year marks the height of festivities. This upcoming Lunar New Year is the Year of the Dragon, a particularly auspicious zodiac associated with power, strength, and confidence.  

Quite serendipitously in our early stages of research, we discovered the work of Ray Dak Lam, a Canadian-based graphic designer and illustrator with collaborations with Google, McDonald’s, and Uniqlo under his belt. Resonating with his distinct minimalist and Bauhaus-inspired aesthetic, we enlisted his creativity to capture the grandeur of the Dragon Year in a modern and playful way. 

When we work with artists like Ray, the idea is to let them express themselves the way they want, so we keep the brief simple. In Ray’s case, he tapped into his personal connection, sharing that "Lunar New Year makes me think of family gatherings, food such as my grandma's spring rolls, and watching the lion dance performances in Chinatown." 

Like us, Ray’s work and life are touched by Apple’s massive impact. “I'm pretty immersed in Apple products in my daily life, whether it's listening to music with my AirPods Max and iPhone, working on my iMac and MacBook, or sketching on my iPad.” 

Ray’s creative process is a dialogue between hand drawn sketches and tech. “I always start my designs with sketches, then refine them using tracing paper or digitally on my iPad. During the initial stages, I keep things analog to avoid getting too caught up in achieving perfection. After, I create the digital vector artwork, carefully considering elements such as balance, contrast, unity, and other design aspects.” 

The unique capsule combines our streamlined carry solutions with Ray’s colorful designs. Featuring three motifs representative of Lunar New Year – paper lanterns, folding fans, and of course, the dragon – each capsule piece takes on Ray’s designs in their own ways.  

Our MacBook sleeve adopts a minimal patterned print across the surface while our tech organizer is finished with embroidery patches for an even more whimsical touch that was fun for us to explore. To compliment Ray’s design and primary palette, we chose our signature Kraft colorway which brings out an almost regal yet playful subtlety to the overall capsule.  

It’s always such a fun experience to connect with creatives and discover new sides to our own creativity in the process, and we’re excited to start the Lunar New Year with the vibrant energy of Ray's designs.  

From the team at Native Union, we wish you a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!