(11/17/16) Breaking News: Signature Plastics has elected to pick up G20 Semiotics as an upcoming featured Set of the Month. The keycap set is currently in the prototype phase.
If you are a fan of Ron Cobb's Semiotic Standard or Simon Deering's emergency destruct system panel key graphics from Alien
then you'll surely recognize the inspiration for this keyset. This set would be dye-sublimated onto PBT. The base keycap color code is WAN.
After looking at the concept renders that follow, I'm sure one of your first questions is, "Why are you using that funky G20 keycap family?" I know that it isn't exactly popular, and in fact there are many who dislike it rather vigorously. But the flat, square shape of G20 keys suits the highly ortholinear nature of the graphics. I've examined renders of the symbols on other types of keycaps, such as DSA, and found that the curvature of the keycap surface distorts the graphics in very unappealing ways.
Given the limited appeal of the G20 family, this would probably be a very small production run. Consequently I don't believe it is suitable for MassDrop; in fact, I doubt they would take interest in it given how exotic this keyset is. I think it is just too unusual for them. My current thinking is putting it up on PMK directly and letting interested buyers vote for it.
Another source of discomfort for many, I'm sure, is the entirely symbolic nature of the alphas and navcluster keys. While this will undoubtedly bother the hunt-and-peck crowd, I think there are benefits to this unique design. First off, the ability to move the keys around however you like allows for a wide variety of international and alternate layouts without any concern for row profile or legend incompatibilities. For the international user, the biggest issue will be the lack of an ISO return key in the G20 family. The only solution for that is the usual ISO return key from the DCS family. If there is enough international interest in this set, I will make a custom graphic to go on the ISO return key so that it isn't simply blank.
Another interesting benefit to this symbolic design is that the ability to arrange the keys however you like means that no two keyboards need ever look exactly the same, at least in terms of the alphas and navcluster keys. Arranging a G20 Semiotic keyboard is almost an art project in itself.
One final note: my intention is to expand on the keys shown, using graphics from areas of the emergency destruct panel not already in use, so that there would be ample "extra" keys in other sizes for things like the ErgoDox and the WhiteFox and so forth. I think it would be nice for this set to reach as many alternate keyboard layouts as possible without anyone having to resort to blanks. Do keep in mind, though, that there are no G20 molds for keycaps larger than 2.75u, and only one size of spacebar (6.25u).
So is this simply too exotic? Too unusual?