Custom mechanical keyboards like GMK67 are becoming increasingly popular, allowing people to express their style and personality through unique and creative keycap designs. However, coming up with fresh and innovative ideas for custom keycaps can be challenging. This article will provide tips on finding inspiration for your custom keycap designs.
Research Existing Keycap Designs
One of the best ways to spark ideas is to research what keycap designs already exist. Look at keycap group buy forums, retailer sites, Instagram hashtags, and Reddit communities to see the types of themes, color schemes, novelties, materials, legends, and profiles that are trending. Make notes on designs that catch your eye and elements you may want to incorporate. Studying both basic and complex keycap sets will fuel your creativity.
Browse Design Inspiration Sites
Sites like Behance, Dribbble and Pinterest have thousands of keyboard, keycap, and graphic design projects to peruse. Follow hashtags like #keycapdesign to find the latest designs. You can get inspiration from other products too like posters, clothing, illustrations and packaging. Observe how designers use color, fonts, icons, patterns and layouts that could be adapted for keycaps. Save designs you like to a mood board for future reference.
Consider Your Interests and Lifestyle
Think about your own hobbies, interests and lifestyle for design ideas that reflect your personality. For example, if you’re into gaming, you could create keycaps based on your favorite games. If you love traveling, make keycaps with country flags, landmarks or maps. Other themes could cover your favorite sports team, TV show, movie, music genre or college. The options are endless when pulling from your own passions and lifestyle.
Collaborate with Others
Working with others in the mechanical keyboard community can bring fresh perspective to your design process. Partner with keycap designers on collaboration projects or join group buys to brainstorm and share creativity. Many minds working together will generate lots of options to choose from. You can also get feedback early in the design process to help improve or finalize your creations.
Experiment with Materials and Techniques
Advancements in keycap manufacturing allow for innovations in materials and techniques. Brand new textures, finishes, multi-shot/mixed media, translucent, metallic, glow-in-the-dark and more can elevate your designs. Study trends and test out new materials. Use rendering software to see how different techniques can enhance your keycap ideas before final production. Pushing boundaries with materials and methods will set your keycaps apart.
Gain Inspiration from Other Sources
Don’t limit yourself to just keycap designs when seeking inspiration. Architecture, product design, fine art, home décor, fashion and more can provide creative influence. Look for interesting shapes, color combinations, symmetry, themes and textures. You can emulate elements like Art Deco geometric patterns or Impressionist color blending in your keycap creations, putting an original spin on them. Expanding beyond keycaps will fuel uniqueness.
Sketch and Prototype Your Ideas
One of the best ways to evolve your inspirations into concrete ideas is to sketch them out. Doodle rough drafts of shapes, novelties, legends and layouts. Make paper prototypes to visualize concepts in 3D. Refine and iterate as you come up with additional options. Narrow down to your top choices and create digital mockups or 3D models to finalize the designs. Sketching brings your inspirations to life so they can become amazing keycaps.
Designing custom keycaps provides an exciting creative outlet. Implementing these tips will help you discover inspiration from diverse sources, collaborate with others and experiment with new techniques and materials to make your keycaps stand out. Remember to keep exploring and trying new things as you develop your own custom keycap design style.