PMK: The Material Metaphor08 Apr 2015
PMK have asked me to create an overview of the set and this article was created for promotion. Whilst this is true these are my own thoughts and what I think of ShiningWing’s design. Please note that I have been offered the keyset if it were to tip in payment for this post.
Material Metaphor is one of the upcoming groupbuys hosted by PMK. First to introduce the set, You must understand the inspiration behind the set. It spawned from Google’s new design guidelines that were introduced in Android 5 lollipop. So the main inspiration is the Google keyboard. As It is based on the Google keyboard it translates quite well to a physical keyboard (a real keyboard). The basic principle is colour must be used sparingly and to great effect.
What Shining Wing has done with this set is quite impressive. The translation of material design to this set is done very well. One of the main aspects of material design is to use colour as accents to point out information and naturally guide and give the user information. This translates very well to keyboards as it is very common to have different coloured modifiers. So with this set you can choose from different accent sets. This is in-line with material design principles because it makes use of colour sparingly, the accent sets comprise of 4 keys. This is all that is needed to break up the colour and create a visually appealing keyboard. But this is all in conjunction with the other colours used.
The accent colours work in a similar vein to how RGB and CMYK modifiers are used, sparingly and brilliantly. This simple aesthetic of having brighter contrasting colours is incredibly appealing. This is apparent by how many coloured modifier sets that you see in the wild. If you picture this set without the accent colours it isn’t really that exciting. So I consider them to be a core part of this set. It is also interesting if you look at Shining Wing’s previous set that didn’t make it past IC. It was very similar to the current set (being the precursor to it) however it used the accents more heavily.
The reason accents work is they stand out because of how there are used for certain keys. And when you see the colour isolated you become drawn to it. As you can see in the “Natural Robots” set it seems more generic. It just looks like the regular alphas one colour and modifiers another. There is no real colour scheme and none of the colours are particularly complimentary. This is what makes the Material Metaphor set different. The colours have been used in correct proportions to the correct effect. It adds to the set but isn’t all the set is. Another difference is the amount of colours on one set. Of course you can buy as many accent sets as you want but the accent sets come in 4 colours. So you will have only one accent colour per set. This is again more in line with the material design guidelines set by Google. The colours are:
- Light Blue
The bottom row is another example of how simple colour changes can be used to create a beautiful understated aesthetic. In the material design guidelines it suggests to use different shades to separate and denote difference between text. This translates well to this keyset as it separates the bottom row (which comprises of modifiers and function keys) from the alphas and breaks up the colour with just a different gradient of grey. This makes it pleasing to the eyes because of how simple the changes are. But even though they are simple changes. They somehow appear blatant and it is hard to miss the change in colour
Another key part of the set is the font. The Roboto font is a perfect fit for this set as it fits in with the non threatening simple aesthetic of the rest of the set. This is just another part that makes the set what it is. I like that it is a deviation from the standard font which you may find on a keyset.
With this set, it is about simple aesthetics and how they are combined. So there are also packs of blanks available. Like with the accent sets you get some choice with how you prefer the set to look. Using blanks in your design is another way you can make the set your own.
The symbols used are also chosen with great care. They are simple and bold, but they are also a little different from the generic symbols. Although they are different you are still able to clearly tell what each one does. This is indicative of how well put together the set is.
The use of material design works well in this keyset because of how simple colours can look together. It shows how colour can be used sparingly to create a nice aesthetic that is different from many other vibrant contrasting keysets you see. It is a nice change to see something that is not as lurid. The nice thing I like about this design is that it is made upon some simple design elements but when they are put together they create something rather nice. But it is all about the composition. You can put simple design elements together and still get something terrible. But in this design, the elements work. When they are put together it seems right. There is colour, but not too much. It is grey but not dark.
Not only is this set pleasant to look at, it also is true to the reference material and this is another reason the keyset stands out from many others. This is also a great second attempt by Shining Wing and I can’t wait to see what else they come up with.
With the launch of this new set, PMK is hosting a giveaway in the first week of the groupbuy. All you have to do is like Pimp My Keyboard’s Facebook page and share the groupbuy on Facebook.
Here is a direct link to the giveaway: