Author Topic: New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)  (Read 5433 times)

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Offline NoPunIn10Did

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New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)
« on: Fri, 02 August 2019, 10:25:17 »
Introduction
So I'm very new to this hobby, but the more I learn about it, the more I want to get involved creatively.  While my day job is that of a software engineer, I used to work in the video game industry.  I've since had some experience in doing graphic design for playing board games online or via forums.  Most of my work has had to do with making new maps and rules variants for Diplomacy, for which I have a real passion.  Here is an example map from Dissolution, an original variant of my own creation.

Archduke
So I have the start of an idea for a series of seven keycap sets based on the seven powers of a traditional Diplomacy game.  The first design I've started thinking through is Archduke, a set based on the flag and emblems of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.



Goals
My goals for the set are as follows:
  • Design the caps for the DSS profile.
  • Support four locales:
    • QWERTY for English (US / ANSI)
    • QWERTY for English (UK / ISO)
    • QWERTZ for German (ISO)
    • QWERTZ for Hungarian (ISO)
  • Support a variety of different modifier sizes
  • Support standard layouts (and blank keys) for Ergodoxian & Ortho boards.

Locale / Theme Questions
I don't know what the best practices are when it comes to keyboards for other locales (goals 2.2 through 2.4).  Many have keys with three or four symbols on them, accessed via Alt Grafik (Alt Greater).  Do European keyboard users tend to prefer all those symbols to be on the keycaps, or are they usually okay with just the characters that can be output without using Alt Gr?

I know there are German-speaking mechanical keyboard users.  Are there many Hungarian typists in the hobby too?  I want to make the eventual Group Buy easily accessible to QWERTZ users, but would they even have interest in this theme? 

Is the Austro-Hungarian empire a sore subject politically?  It's fascinating for me as a subject of history, but I do wonder if it's the sort of thing that modern-day Austrians, Hungarians, and other Europeans would frown upon.

Modifiers and Rows
Is there a good list somewhere of all the differently sized modifier keys that people generally expect to come with a TKL ANSI or ISO set?  Outside those already shown in Keyboard Layout Editor, that is.

And what about a list of standard expectations for Ergodox and Ortho?  I use an Ergodox, so I know what I would want, but it'd be helpful to know what the most common legends are that people expect on their modifier keys.

Also, what row profiles do Ergodox users use for the thumb clusters?  I've had a lot of luck using an inverted vertical R3/4 2u key as my spacebar (an upside-down Numpad Enter), but what rows do others use for their 2u and 1u keys in non-uniform setups?

Visual Design / Colorway
At the moment, the design is very rough and uses a very simple color scheme.  The goal is to make a whole keyboard resemble the three horizontal bars of the Austro-Hungarian flag, but I'm having trouble deciding what actually looks best (and is still practical).

  • One lower row colored, green starts to the right of the spacebar:
  • One lower row colored, green only for arrow keys and numpad:
  • One lower row colored, no green:
  • Two lower rows colored (shown with green to right of spacebar, could be one of the others above)


Novelty Keys
I have ideas for about 4 different novelty keys.  One will be the Austrian imperial double-eagle.

A very early version of another, the Hungarian double cross, is shown below (and is in draft #1 but got mangled by KLE's PNG export):


I'm still debating whether I want the cross on its own or as part of a more squarish design resembling the Hungarian seal (as seen in the flag at the top).

Kit Design
Related to the modifiers question above, what's a reasonable number of kits to establish for an IC / GB, particularly for a first timer?  And what's a reasonable percentage of "extra" keys that each key can contain (to keep locale/layout support wide without creating kits that fail to reach MOQ)?

Group Buy & Interest Check Administration
I've found a couple of guides to running a GB and an IC, but what's usually the standard procedure for a first-time designer?  Are there some more experienced people I could partner with to learn the ropes?  Most of the ICs I see are either (1) quick-and-dirty colorways of GMK sets using the freely available auto-render tools or (2) extremely professional looking posts by designers who've clearly done this a dozen times.

Do designers usually pick all their vendors before they start the IC, or do they do so in the middle of it?

Offline Symbiote

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Re: New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 05 September 2019, 09:33:01 »
I'm also new, but I think I can answer the question to Europeans.

For British keyboards, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_and_American_keyboards . On most keyboards, only and are labelled.  No-one cares about , and few people would notice if is missing -- I'd bet, since it's the only useful key with a label in that position, that most British people don't know how to type it anyway.

However, having ` 2" 3 '@ and #~ be correctly labelled is generally required, and having the additional ISO key (\| in British), the tall Enter and the narrow left shift is pretty much essential.  All this looks to be normal in the "UK ISO" kits: 8 keys. UK ISO will satisfy some ISO touch-typists, and some other European programmers who use the layout to get easier access to symbols like []{}/`.

The German keyboard includes essential characters at the third level, like @[]{}.  People will know how to type these, and I think would miss them. (I touch-type on a UK layout 99% of the keys, but I look at the keyboard if I need & or *).

On the Hungarian layout, which I've never used, they look to be essential -- the very common accent marks use them.

I don't see problems with causing offence. Especially the Hungarian layout might be very, very niche -- Hungarian has 13 million speakers worldwide.

(PS "Alt Gr" is "Alternative graphic".)

Offline dovenyi

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  • Location: Debrecen, Hungary
Re: New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 17 September 2019, 12:49:15 »
Some thoughts from a Hungarian here:
It is a very nice project, but I don't think you would get much orders from Hungary if any. The community is a few dozen people in the whole country and most of the people develop their own boards with exotic layouts. We are used to not have compatible keysets and usually end up with blank 1u caps. ;)

If you are still committed to the project:
The topic is not sensitive at all. While there was a lost freedom fight against the Habsburgs, after the devastation of the two world wars people remember the last peaceful decades of the monarchy with nostalgia.

Localisation: we are mostly programmers and touch typists in the scene, no need for extra AltGr+ symbols on the caps IMO. Of course it would be important for the average user, but again, they won't even consider curtomizing their cheap rubberdomes.

Regarding the novelty key: I like it, but this isn't really considered a national symbol on its own nowadays, just as part of the coat of arms. Most likely because Hungary has completely lost two of the three mountains depicted beneath the cross after the first world war, when it suddenly appeared on the CoA of the newly created Slovakia.  That being said, I personally find it cool and much better than fitting all the details of the full CoA on a keycap.

Crown
Hungarians are quite picky about their crown and its shape. That distorted one in your post would be barely considered the Hungaria crown by most Hungarians. For them the only acceptable shape is this half-sphere shape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Crown_of_Hungary#/media/File:Coat_of_arms_of_Hungary.svg

Offline NoPunIn10Did

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Re: New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 17 September 2019, 14:44:24 »
Some thoughts from a Hungarian here:
It is a very nice project, but I don't think you would get much orders from Hungary if any. The community is a few dozen people in the whole country and most of the people develop their own boards with exotic layouts. We are used to not have compatible keysets and usually end up with blank 1u caps. ;)
Thanks for the insight.  I'm not sure if I'm going to end up pursuing this specific project, but it just seemed a shame to do an Austria-Hungary keyboard without a Hungarian localization.

If you are still committed to the project:
The topic is not sensitive at all. While there was a lost freedom fight against the Habsburgs, after the devastation of the two world wars people remember the last peaceful decades of the monarchy with nostalgia.
Glad to hear that it's not too sore a spot.


Regarding the novelty key: I like it, but this isn't really considered a national symbol on its own nowadays, just as part of the coat of arms. Most likely because Hungary has completely lost two of the three mountains depicted beneath the cross after the first world war, when it suddenly appeared on the CoA of the newly created Slovakia.  That being said, I personally find it cool and much better than fitting all the details of the full CoA on a keycap.
Fitting all the details wouldn't be possible.  This just seemed like a design in the emblem that could be reduced to a single silhouette (which is really what you need for a novelty cap).

Crown
Hungarians are quite picky about their crown and its shape. That distorted one in your post would be barely considered the Hungaria crown by most Hungarians. For them the only acceptable shape is this half-sphere shape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Crown_of_Hungary#/media/File:Coat_of_arms_of_Hungary.svg
You mean the crown in the flag at the top?  That's just from Wikimedia commons.  Apparently there's been a whole lot of back-and-forth about that design, which you can see in the history.

Apparently there's been so much bickering over which one is the real/historical flag that they have both posted:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Civil_ensign_of_Austria-Hungary_(1869-1918).svg
« Last Edit: Tue, 17 September 2019, 14:48:39 by NoPunIn10Did »

Offline NoPunIn10Did

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Re: New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 17 September 2019, 15:14:48 »
Update Re: Crowns

The plot thickens!  Apparently this is one of those things where someone made a simplified graphic based on a real flag or photograph of a flag from the time, and since its posting to Wikipedia, it's now being treated as the flag.

However when I look for actual flags from the period (or at least period artwork portraying the flag), I find that there's a lot of difference from one to the next.

The flag on this page strikes me as similar to the one that you note as incorrect.  It's as if they took that design and oversimplified it for Wikimedia.

I was also able to find an advertisement from the period that recreated the flag.

There's also this cloth flag that has the crown shaped much closer to what's in the coat of arms but without the same level of detail.

And here's a rug with yet another iteration.  Not sure when this was manufactured.

Sorry for the detour.  I just find this stuff really fascinating!  Is there some history to the different crown styles that I'm unaware of?  I wonder if it was simply a matter of there not being any real standardization to it at the time.

Offline dovenyi

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Re: New designer seeking advice for QWERTY / QWERTZ set (Archduke)
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 20 September 2019, 12:10:54 »
Well, I'm sure there were different kind of depictions of the crown during the centuries, but the good news is: there's only one real crown in our history which comes to people's mind if you mention the word "crown".
And its shape is unchanged for the last 1000 years - except the tilted cross on the top, which is the result of an accident.
So even if there where times when its depiction was for some reason distorted to maybe accommodate the Austrian part (?) on that specific flag or for artistic reasons, for a 21st century Hungarian it looks weird. Also, I've never seen that flag before. If I search for the flag, I get the Habsburg yellow-black one from the 18th century, followed by our present flag used during the freedom fight, and for the last years of the monarchy I get this under the title "war flag":

https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magyarorsz%C3%A1g_z%C3%A1szlaja#/media/F%C3%A1jl:War_flag_of_Austria-Hungary_(1918).svg

But this one isn't really known today either.