Keycap Designs!

Too much time in KLE?

I’ll admit, I’ve been spending a lot of time playing around with Pantone colors in KLE. It started trying to find a perfect layout, but my fingers were inexperienced. So, I started playing around with different colors. Early on, things were really rough looking.

Tinker on, and on…

Over time, the color scheme became something coherent. Then, the legends needed to be redrawn as vectors. A few revisions of those and finally we had something going. I reached out to Input Club and we’re working close to being all settled to run the set through an interest check through their store. The colors for the set, Popo//Dev, are based on Popola and Devola from NieR Automata.

Of course, their eyes and hair are pretty vibrant colors. The world of NieR Automata isn’t, it’s washed out and faded in most parts. I was trying to capture that feel as well, so I tried to avoid highly saturated colors. I also wasn’t using Pantone colors when I began, but instead, working off the PMK ABS pallet. Since Maxkey uses Pantone, I went back and finalized the design using the larger palette available that way. Finally, it was done. SA Popo//Dev by Maxkey.

Why Maxkey?

Two reasons: First, the lower cost of production, meaning the set could be made more easily accessible to anyone. With the retooling they’ve done, their legends look a lot better now. They also proved themselves after the issues with Lime, stating they would not pursue gloss finishes, and released SA Berserk in a matte finish and it looks fantastic.

The second reason is the production queue. Anything from Signature Plastic/Pimp My Keyboard is pushing dangerously close to 2019 lead times now. I didn’t want to be in a super long queue with my first design, and I love the two Maxkey sets I own, so they just made sense for the quickest, cheapest option to get my design produced if there’s enough interest.

Forward the Foundation

Beyond Popo//Dev, I really wanted to work on my own signature alphas. The most cost effective way to this was through dye sublimation. I’m a fairly new designer with little prestige in the community and non-standard fonts, let alone non-standard alphas, aren’t major drivers for sales.

I chose the celestial alphabet to base my design off, but settling on colors was difficult since they needed to be dye sub friendly. Finally, I found an basis for my design, once again drawing my colors from NieR.

The characrer this time was a bit risque, but her color palette is rather simplistic. This was perfect inspiration for something dye sub friendly! Thanks to my coworker and photos & video volunteer, /u/knG333 offering feedback I was able to put the colors together after being stuck on an accent.

After working that out in KLE with the Pantone colors and linking all my vector work in, I really, really wanted to try running the set in MDA. I approached 0.01 in regards to the possibility and showed my planned legends. 0.01 loved the design, and stated they were just finishing the tooling and open for designer collaboration!

Can’t stop, won’t stop

Finally, tonight I threw together my very first renders of the latest design I was working on — GMK Impact. I posted this one to reddit right away for an early interest check to help flesh out the design.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on novelties with this set, only having one novelty option drawn up at the time of posting this. I’m not too sure I’ll pursue novelties given the design inspiration being kind of obscure. That, and they can really drive prices up, which I’d prefer not to do.

The inspiration from this one came from a mobile game I’ve been playing, Honkai Impact 3. The protagonist, Kiana, just seemed really easy to put together an attractive set with a simple palette, but I still pushed it to a 4 color design, oops.

After feedback from the first interest check on GMK Impact I went back and revised the colorway with accented f-keys and the community was right, it looks freaking stellar now.

It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming along and quickly becoming one of my favorite sets… I realize that sounds a bit conceited, but it’s thanks to feedback from that it looks as good as it does. Yesterday I really liked the design, today I’m freaking loving it. So, thanks again for the feedback! I’m looking forward to getting SA Popo//Dev up to see how things evolve there!

Special thanks to knG333 as always for editing my posts. Hopefully I didn’t muck anything up too badly with my additions after his initial editing!

Also, please note thing shown here is 100% set in stone as the final design plan. While I like to think Popo//Dev is set in stone, until the GB runs it’s always subject to change. The other two designs are definitely still WIPs.


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