Twelve South DeskPad review – Vegan leather at its best

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REVIEW –  Whether it’s a luxurious leather surface with polished wooden accents or a simple desk calendar from the local office supply store, a good desk pad has been an office staple for generations. The Twelve South DeskPad is a fresh take on the venerable blotter pad. They sent me one in Dove Grey to test. Let’s take a closer look.

What is it?

The Twelve South DeskPad is a soft, textured pad to protect and enhance any work surface.

What’s in the box?

Twelve South DeskPad in a storage bag.

Hardware specs

From Company Website

  • Luxury vegan leather pad enhances & protects desk
  • Warm textured surface for comfort & precision mousing
  • Extra width for extended keyboard & pointing device
  • Available in Black or Dove Grey

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Design and features

Twelve South’s DeskPad is made from “vegan leather” and backed with a very thin closed-cell foam. (In one of my Slack/Discord groups, we’ve been having a discussion of vegan leather and what it is, exactly. Results are inconclusive at this point. Currently, we’re at: “feels like leather, but was never part of an animal.” Discussion is still on-going.)  The DeskPad measures 15.8” x 29.5” and is 2.75 mm thick. The website lists it as 15.75″ x 29.37, so I guess there is a bit of flex.
The edges are not blunt-cut, like many sheet-type goods, but finished with a rounded smooth shape. (Below is an example of a “desk pad” from another vendor that I’ve been using for several years. Note the blunt edge, thin material, and lack of actual padding.)

The corners are rounded to a pleasing radius that mimics Apple’s well-known aesthetic.

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Several Apple devices laid on the DeskPad, showing Apple’s famous “rounded rectangle” design language. This was part of their famous lawsuit with Samsung back in the day.

The texture of the Twelve South DeskPad is a pebble-like look, with a single Twelve South logo stamped at the center of one of the long sides. It is available in Dove Grey (shown) and Black.

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Not really set up, but the DeskPad will arrive rolled up and needs to be unfurled and laid out for a good while to relax. I left it for several days before it was truly flat on the table.

While not mandatory, it will help make the surface a more inviting and comfortable workspace. If you’re wanting to move it to another area by rolling it back up and re-deploying it, you’ll need to allow time to unfurl again. I was hoping that it would be a little more like a game mat, that could be rolled up and moved to another area easily, but the material is very stiff, so rolling it up will make it be curled again for several days.


The Twelve South DeskPad is a very comfortable surface to work on when computing or writing/drawing. The slight “grain” keeps thin things like cards from sticking and being difficult to pick up. If you’re a mouse user, this will give you a bit of texture, so that your tracking is more accurate. (Also great if you’re using a glass-topped desk, which doesn’t play well with optical mice.) I set up a work area on an old library table that has been in the family for years. My granddaddy used it in his garage as a workbench at one time. My dad rescued it, refinished it, and fixed it up for my mom to use as a sewing table. It was at one time a play table for my children. Each of these lives have left its mark. The DeskPad was able to let me use it for computing without having the nicks and scars get in the way.

What I like

  • The slight cushion provides just enough “give” without being “squishy”
  • Decent size for devices/keyboards, etc.
  • Thicker and more durable than most desk pads

What I’d change

  • It’s quite stiff and takes a bit to flatten out after being rolled up

Final thoughts

If you have a regular place to set up your computing area, you’re aware that sometimes, those surfaces are not always uniform or friendly to your hands, wrists, and forearms. Sometimes, you have a delicate surface that may need protection. At other times, it may just be an old door on two saw horses, and you want to make it less dangerous. No matter the desk type, the DeskPad from Twelve South can enhance your environment. It’s not huge but is a generous size for most desk work.

Price: $49.99
Where to buy: Company Website and Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by TwelveSouth.

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