NicePBT & CannonCaps New Legends - 9009 Dark Desk Hero

CannonKeys now offers 29 in-stock keycaps, with 4 more launching in the next few weeks, and many more in the pipeline — We’ve been busy, and we’re eager to share our latest!

Our NicePBT & CannonCaps mission is to deliver great value on ready to ship keysets. While we’ve been working hard at bringing more sets in stock, we’ve continued to iterate, incorporating feedback and pushing improvement. We no longer see our caps as only providing great value, they are an excellent product in their own right.

But we’re still not done improving! Feedback from our customers helps us create a better experience for everyone. We continue to listen, and we hope you continue to share! And it’s with that lens we’re happy to announce a new NicePBT and CannonCaps improvement.

New Legends

A consistent point of feedback on our Cherry profile dyesub keycaps has been the legends - specifically the thickness of the icons and the shape of the latin alphas. Over the past few months, the CannonKeys team alongside a rockstar keyboard community designer have worked to improve our Cherry style legends.

When we first started, our goal was to hit 1:1 parity in legends with OG doubleshot keycaps present on older Cherry boards, like the G80-1800 and G80-3000. Many CannonKeys team members really enjoy OG keycaps, and we thought staying faithful to the profile would be the best approach.

Our first revised legends were based off of the Open Cherry font by dakotafelder. This font was created using traces of OG doubleshot keycaps. But as we took a closer look, we realized that the doubleshot process in and of itself introduced imperfections into the process. Looking at the “Backspace” key - we quickly realized that the solution wasn’t going to be as easy as we had hoped:

CannonKeys NicePBT & CannonCaps, 'Backspace' New Legend Comparison
Above: Open Cherry font by dakotafelder
Below: Our new NicePBT & CannonCaps legends

Knowing the pitfalls - we changed our approach. Instead of trying to match OG Cherry legends 1:1, we tried to design something Cherry-like that is well suited for dyesub. We ended up doing a lot of tracing of GMK keycaps, comparing our legends with close-up photos of GMK and OG doubleshots, and fine tuning. We changed the spacing of some keys to be a bit more consistent, made kerning a bit more consistent where we saw the opportunity, and tried to use consistent line weights and iconography (some compromises were made in order to make the legends look more Cherry-like).

We think by designing specifically for dye-sub, we were able to avoid some of the inconsistencies in the doubleshot medium of OG keycaps. And while some purists might wish we didn’t - we think overall, our legends are vastly improved. We’re happy to say that after many iterations, we arrived at an end product that we are happy with, and we think you will be too!

Comparison Photos Versus GMK

Below, we've shared detailed images that highlight our approach to legend refinements. We compared a few keycaps from CannonCaps 9009 Dark to GMK White on Black.

CannonCaps 9009 Dark - New Legends

CannonCaps & NicePBT Keycaps - New legends on CannonKeys keysets compared to GMK

CannonCaps & NicePBT Keysets, new legends compared to GMK White on Black  

Introducing CannonCaps 9009 Dark

The first set that will run with our improved Text + Icon legends is CannonCaps 9009 Dark. It’s a unique take on the usual G80-9009 keyboard typically associated with Reuters. It features alphas matched to GMK’s CB color and mods matched to GMK’s CC color, instead of the usual L9 and U9 - but the 3C and 3B accents are still present. Given the not-quite-Cherry, but Cherry-like legends we made, we thought this riff on the classic 9009 colorway was appropriate.

CannonCaps 9009 Dark Keyset - GMK keycap color comparison
Color comparison: CannonCaps Dark 9009 vs GMK CC, CB, 3C, 3B 

So what about the older legends?

We strongly believe that our older legends still provide a compelling value and consistent experience, while not being as close to OG Cherry legends as our new legends. As such, sets with our old legends will still remain in stock. We don’t plan on discounting them in any way - though we do run promotions from time to time (we’re currently running a 40% off deal on any in-stock keycap set with purchase of a Brutal series board using the code BRUTALCAPS).

CXA Profile - More Sets Coming soon!

Another bit of feedback we hear is that you want more CXA. And trust us - we do too! We’ve been working behind the scenes to make more CXA sets possible. And reaching out to certain designers as well to get popular colorways made in CXA. Unfortunately, due to some mold misconfiguration this is taking us a bit longer than we had hoped - but we should be releasing our first new CXA set outside of WoB/BoW soon!  If you know of any sets you’d like to see in CXA, or you’re a designer interested in running a set in CXA - please reach out and let us know.

What's Next

CannonCaps 9009 Dark on Brutal Ergo

We’re still not done with improving on our product lines. We constantly push on quality in order to deliver our customers a great quality product. And we’ll continue to listen to feedback to improve what we’re putting out there. Maybe you don’t like our new legends, or have some tips or pointers for improvement. If so, we’d love to hear what you think! Ultimately, we want to bring products that people love to market, and we’ll continue to iterate until we can check that box for more people.

July 07, 2022 — Andrew Kannan