Not Your Grandpa's Keyboard

Why do so many of us waste our lives using keyboards with no personality?

Not Your Grandpa's Keyboard

It's a mystery. Why do so many of us accept spending moments of our lives we'll never get back using keyboards that have no personality? Ones that plug into our daily life each day but sit on our desks as bland, lifeless, characterless, boring, flat, hunks of plastic that give us exactly zero joy? We wasted our lives on boring keyboards.

There's some good news to share: there are sooo many awesome and fun choices to add both comfort and joy to our lives using keyboards that are more suited to our tastes, how we actually work, and in more aesthetically pleasing configurations.

A thing of beauty.

I initially learned to type by sanding the letters and numbers off all the keys so I wouldn't be able to peek. Learning that way is cool because I can type blindfolded in a pitch-black jungle in a windstorm at blinding speed but its not for everyone and nowhere near as cool as what the keyboard possibilities are. I'm writing this in an attempt to transmit to others the subtle but positive impacts that custom keyboards can have when we build them to suit our own individual personality and working style.

No one ever asks if they can use my primary personal laptop.

Laptop keyboards are one thing. External mechanical keyboards are an entirely different sport. In addition to more options to style them out aesthetically, mechanical keyboards can also be configured to match each our own personal ergonomics, bolstering the health of our radiocarpal joints and phalanges, protecting us from Repetitive Motion Injuries (or RMIs for short) so we can continue to work pain-free for years to come (or until keyboards are replaced with something more efficient).

Options for mechanical keyboards are legion, include types of keys: some are loud and clicky, some are super-responsive for gaming, while others are quieter and optimized for long coding sessions.

There's a key cap designed for many applications and preferences.

Maybe you're into building your own hardware, in which case there are tons of options for building an ergonomic keyboard from scratch for pennies on the dollar:

Building our own hardware is fun when we can make the time.

Reader beware, this is one rabbit hole that will surely lead you to enough choices to melt your face off but more than enough configurations that finding juuust the right thing that suits you has never been more fun. If you're interested in getting hooked on a new hobby, get ready to spend some hours browsing all the options because there are A LOT of them.

If you're not into the kind of commitment required to build your own keyboard, here are a couple radical options we love to whet your appetite.

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Split-keyboards aren't for everyone. I'm transparently biased because this is what I currently use in a fully tented (vertically tilted) configuration (blank keys, yeah) because it affords me the greatest comfort and speed.  If split-keyboards are your thing, too, this just might be the Grand Poobah of them all (hat tip to @Bule for turning me onto this one):


There's a great review and unboxing here:

Here are some similar, less-expensive-but-no-less-awesome options for getting into the split-keyboard scene:


Visit for some massive inspiration

This is another big nod to @Bule for turning me onto this! Starting with something like one of the keyboards above, you're quickly off to the races building something with custom keys that will bring you pleasure to look at while also preserving your healthy wrists and fingers for years to come. and have some inexpensive and cool color combos that are great for getting started, too. There are artisn key cap artists all over the place, including Etsy. And is a great starting point for custom parts for just about anything having to do with keyboards.

Have fun and thanks for reading and indulging with us. If you know of other cool custom keyboard/keycap resources and inspirations we should know about let me know on twitter and I will share them with the rest of my readers!

The awesome GIF used in this article is called Gamer Keyboard and was created by Mkader.