This is Canvas.

banner-2

Today I’m happy to officially announce the release of an all new keycap set project that I’ve been working on recently, conceived to rethink some rules and expand new routes that I felt were unexplored in our community. For the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting with theme implementation – like Godspeed and optimization for customization possibilities using logic – as seen on Overcast. The result of this work is Canvas – a XDA profile keycap set for MX stem mechanical keyboards.

kiracanvas_c1r02

I decided to go further and step beyond some boundaries and limits that I had, for some reason, previously established in my head. This time I attempted to dive deep into the brain work of designing, implementing a meaningful theme while rethinking the standards for this niche – Why are the legends always like this and why are the icons always like that? I’ve kept asking myself, while questioning how could I create something classy and at the same time, innovative.

So I studied, watched and read. Canvas is the result of weeks of a work strongly influenced by Braun aesthetics, the work of Dieter Rams and the iconic Apple mechanical keyboard from the 90’s – AEK.

From the beginning it was hating the sixties American way of styling. Especially the cars. They changed their cars every two years to sell new ones. Which has nothing to do with good design. – Dieter Rams

The font – Readability, elegance and aesthetics

A balance between lower case and upper case characters is not a feature exactly present in the keycap sets available in the market.  The AEK made such a good use of it, but ultimately it’s a style that disappeared. I’m bringing it back. The stroke, radius, scale and spacing of every character was carefully developed and created by hand as a result of strong typography influences such as Univers from Apple, Kostić’s Mongoose, Mariya’s Kizo and others.

The proportions between alphanumeric characters & modifier legends were mathematically conceived, and precisely adjusted, to the factor of 1.35 in height. The kerning was adjusted to 1.61. Tall characters like f, g, t, etc. were calibrated accordingly – stroke first & then height (for proper alignment), while all of the legends were positioned to the visual center of the top left surface position of each keycap. auracanvas_c2r01

Iconography and kits – Recreating the convention

Dieter Rams’ 10 Principle of Good Designs is the cornerstone of Braun, and I wanted to apply its concepts on Canvas. The icon convention implemented had to be aestheticinnovative and honest  no more valuable than it really is . The language created was thorough down to the last detail and no aspect of it was arbitrary or left to chance. To make this tangible, unobtrusive and understandable symbols were hand drawn, using either two or three geometric elements – as little design as possible.

An example of the thcontrolought process behind the Control icon. Every symbol was developed after the same concept – immediate correspondence to an object that relates to the original legends.

32905

The kits offered provide useful keycaps and the balance between affordability and customization was again preserved. Good design is environmentally friendly and a palette with pastels & colorful strikes was conceived – so the spectrum ranging from office cubicles to gaming rigs could be properly covered.  The long lasting PBT material was selected for this project and its ever lasting polymer characteristics were combined with the never fading dye sublimation process for the legends.

auracanvas_c1r01

canvas-cream-a

Coming next there will be a post detailing the child kits that will be offered in the group buy – which is going live 19th, January 2017 at Massdrop. I hope you are excited about this project because we have a wonderful drop in the works, so feel invited to visit the drop discussion page and contribute with your criticism! I appreciate your visit once again, let me know what you think about my work! You know where to find me.

Keeb on,

MiTo

Special thanks to Wu, Spinelli, Almuiña, Tobias, Cook, Liu, RMK, GH, MD and Slack.

You mean a lot to me. 

21 thoughts on “This is Canvas.

    • Hey thanks for the kind words, I’m happy you appreciate the read!

      I prefer the text modifiers + alphas but I believe the icon modifiers + runic kit + monolegends look very interesting as well…

      There are so many combinations, people will be able to answer better than me.

      Like

  1. For every whinging comment left on mass drop, there’s a dozen queit people who have deep appreciation of your work. Thank you for these two beautiful sets. I bought both sets and some of the color modifiers. The Beta set with icon modifiers grabs the attention, but the alpha is the elegant one, I love it.

    Like

  2. Is there any way, i could still get on the list ? How could i miss such a beautiful keycap set ;(.This would be my end game – right here. MiTo pls help. Or at least cheer me up, by saying you will make another group buy someday.

    Like

  3. Are you offering this drop again anytime soon? I don’t know how I missed it. My Ergodox has been shipped and is missing some awesome keycaps.

    I’ve literally looked at dozens of keycaps for it, I didn’t like anything until I saw this. It’s got an understated elegance which I love. You never find clean, simple, elegant keycaps anymore. Too bad I saw the drop too late :((

    Like

      • I have seen the new drop and I’ll most likely get it, but I will be missing the number row and some modifiers. So I was wondering if you’ll offer the old drop anytime soon. There are over 1350 requests for it already 🙂

        Like

      • We are going to have another drop of those at some point in the future, but I’m not entirely sure about when.

        Also, there’s going to be a Preonic keycap set drop soon and there’s a chance Canvas will be able. The Preonic is a layout that features a number row but I believe you’d still be short on the modifiers.

        Like

  4. I love the look of this keyset, I’m just sad that I got into the mechanical keyboard game ever so slightly too late to get in on this drop. Fortunately the current Planck drop has given me an excuse to get in on the drop to use with a Let’s Split that I’m slowly pulling parts together for.

    Do you show how you derived the other modifier icons anywhere? Seeing how you came up with the icon for control was really interesting.

    Like

    • Cheers Harry!

      Thank you very much for joining the buy, I hope you enjoy the keycaps once they arrive!

      I’m yet to compile all the thought process behind the development of the iconography… I’m slowly putting it together because I want it to make sense for you people.

      I’ll get that done added to this journal log, thank you very much for taking your time to write this message!

      Like

  5. Hi! I’m becoming obsessed with mech keyboards and keycaps, and these are the best I’ve seen so far, they’re just beautiful.

    My question is, would you consider making them for a latin america distribution?

    Keep up the good work!

    Like

  6. I’ve just started my journey down the mk rabbit-hole, and I’ve seen this keycap set show up in various threads and pics and such. My digging led me here.
    They are truly a delight to behold, and I hope I can find a set that’ll fit whatever keyboard I end up with next.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s