When designing a GMK keycap set there are certain requirements needed to have a set quoted and approved for production. This guide will go over in detail everything you need to know to create a keycap set from start to finish through GMK.
Provide a render for a quote
- Include all keycaps, kit layout/s (don't forget the row identification numbers)
- Include .svg files for any new legends
- Include color codes (See Below Section)
- Mark any convex keys, if part of the set
The first step in creating a keycap set is selecting the colors you would like. The first place to start would be to look over the stock color options that GMK has to offer. Below you can see the range of stock GMK colors. If you’d like a closer look you can always order a color ring from the UNIQEY store as well.
If you would like a color that is not offered as a stock color we can match and create custom colors. With nearly infinite custom color options (RAL, Pantone, Hex, RGB, CMYK, etc.) you may be overwhelmed with choices. RAL is currently the preferred system for custom colors, as matching is nearly perfect on the first try. Within the RAL color palettes, we recommend “RAL Classic” or “RAL Design”. Pantone plastic chips are a good backup system to use if you can’t find a RAL color that is suitable. You can purchase these directly from Pantone. HEX, RGB, CMYK color codes are not accepted for custom colors as they are not physical colors.
Kit design or selecting the keycaps to be included in the set, is the second step in the process. This is a very important step as you will want to make sure you are including the keycaps that people are currently wanting in the keyboard community, to cover specific layouts and/or certain needs you have in mind for the set. If you are unsure of what keycaps to include we would recommend starting an interest check on one of the keyboard forums such as the Interest Check page on GeekHack.
Selecting and Designing Legends
You will also need to select what legends you would like to use. GMK has a number of different language layouts available. These are: Belgian, Czech, Danish, French, German, Greek, Hiragana, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian/Cyrillic, Slowenian, Spanish, Swedish (Finnish), Swiss (French/German), UK-English, US-English, US-English (Arabic sublegends), US-English (Cyrillic sublegends), US-English (Greek sublegends), US-English (Hangul sublegends), US-English (Hiragana sublegends).
It is possible to create new legends for a cost, though there are specifications that need to be followed when creating a new legend.
Maximum symbol size of double-shot keycaps:
Printable lines reference for creating a new double shot legend:
Here in more detail:
Line thickness: Minimum of 0,3 mm
Distance between contours, same as line thickness (the other way around):
Closed inner contours: Minimum of 0,6 mm (the example shows an insufficient inner contour which needs correcting). Gaps must be min. 0,25 mm.
Open contour lines: Minimum of 0,38 mm.
If you would like to add more than 1 legend color on a single keycap (i.e. sublegends), this can be accomplished with UV-print.
There are many ways to create renders of your kits. You can create custom templates in Illustrator/Photoshop/Inkscape/etc, or you can use an online tool like KLE if you are not able to create your own template. One important thing to note about using a tool like KLE is that you can’t properly render GMK legends or add new custom legends/novelties to the render. If you go this route please make sure to include all novelties with cap sizes/legend orientation, row identification in the render files. For each new symbol/novelty we need a vector file.
Link to inkscape (free vector editing)
Knowing how we price our keycaps is a very important aspect to consider when creating a new custom set. There are many variables that will affect the overall price of each kit.
The main aspects that affect pricing are:
- # of keycaps in each kit
- # of standard or custom colors used
- # of new legends and novelties
- Keycap size
- Quantity ordered (Minimum order quantity of 150 sets if only standard colors
are used, 250 sets if custom colors are used)
How Do I Get A Quote?
Quotes are provided to vendors and direct sellers. Two rounds of quotes are included in our pricing.
In order to optimize this process, please submit your final design to a vendor of your choice. Most designers have several vendors per different region in the world. Just choose one that you want to work with or is close to you, regionally. Vendors know what sells in which mix etc. and will be able to assist you in your process to optimize your design beforehand. Or know when it is best to place the GB to maximize interest and sales. Most known vendors have worked with us already.
Then the vendor should submit the final design (render) to us for quote.
Hopefully this article was helpful in guiding you through the process of creating a custom GMK keycap set. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via the contact form on our website or on the dedicated keyboard forums (GeekHack, Reddit, Deskthority). Although we can’t design your kits or set for you, we will always be glad to assist with any questions you may have during the process.