Logitech MX Vertical
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Cathal Loughnane – Lead Designer (Design Partners), Philip Nordmand – Designer, Nick Jinkinson – Designer (Logitech), Sylvain Sauvage – Ergonomist (Logitech), James Lynch – Engineer 
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
With growing awareness among users of the benefits of ergonomically designed work tools and practices Logitech decided to focus on a new range of control devices that would enable people to work healthier without compromising performance. The vertical mouse is not a new invention but a niche product category that has been gaining momentum due to its ergonomic benefits. A vertical mouse places the hand in a more neutral posture, which reduces muscle strain and fatigue. However, most vertical mice look a little strange. So much emphasis is placed on ergonomics the visual aesthetic is negatively impacted and people can feel self-conscious using the device. Our challenge was to help Logitech enter this category by designing a vertical mouse that delivered proven ergonomic benefits whilst creating a desirable work tool. To take a niche product archetype and reimagine it for broader appeal.
How the brief was fulfilled
The process behind the design and development of MX Vertical is rooted in Art and Science.
Deep research into the ergonomics and kinematics of the hand informed the underlying architecture. We constructed dozens of functional prototypes to research a spectrum of angles, heights and volumes. Running multiple user test sessions where muscle strain and performance activity was measured and analysed. From this research we understood the optimum resting angle for the hand was 57 degrees. This is less than most vertical mice on the market but places the hand in a neutral “handshake” position without creating negative wrist extension. The data also helped us identify the optimum resting height for the thumb and in combination, these factors have resulted in a 10% reduction in muscle strain and four times less muscle activity than a standard mouse. Creating a purely ergonomic mouse does not necessarily lead to a desirable product experience for the end user. It’s about finding a balance between true ergonomics and visceral desire.
In parallel we embarked on sculptural and aesthetic exploration. Unbound by the hard ergonomic data we explored the essence of how a vertical mouse could be expressed. Inspired by vertical structures in architecture, ceramics and sculpture we started to build forms to explore the possibilities. An early form called “T2” was inspired by the elegant structure of cooling towers. Although this model lacked the ergonomic requirements, it became the basis for the expression in the final design.
Next came the iterative process of blending the scientific data and artistic expression to ensure the mouse delivered on performance without compromising aesthetic appeal.
Material selection and refinement is key to the final product experience. The primary grip surface is constructed for two layers. The inner layer is a ridged plastic structure that ensures the mouse is stable and robust in-hand. The outer layer is a matte rubber surface that reduces sweat and helps the user grip the mouse with minimal effort. The vertical pattern on the surface helps with hand registration and adds to the sensory appeal.
The sculptural form is capped with a crisp, machined aluminium plate and houses the “precision mode” button which enables users to adjust the speed of cursor movement.
MX Vertical is Logitech’s flagship vertical mouse.