"while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished." — Jony Ive
This is the story of Systems.
We first started work on low profile keyboards in 2020, culminating in a little project codenamed "Zero" which never survived past sketches. We couldn't find a place for Project Zero at that time.
Good ideas last, the fundamental part of an idea survives the weight of failure. And so even as we launched and worked on projects, the idea of a low profile keyboard always lit up discussion in the office. We felt that we couldn't yet make something that would be a great addition to the world, and we didn't. We just didn't want to, in the words of Jon Foreman "add to the noise".
As more and more of our friends became fans of MONOKEI, voluntarily of course, they continually suggested that we should make keyboards that were friendlier, more familiar, to non mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. As we worked on the idea, we realised that we could build upon our custom keyboard expertise in producing great keyboards for everyone.
Systems was designed around 3 fundamental ideas:
We designed Systems to be a low profile custom keyboard for everyone, probably the world's first ever low profile custom mechanical keyboard. We worked on the sound profile so that even as a low profile keyboard it punches above its weight in that department. And for folks who don't want any sound, Systems comes really close to producing almost none. In our completely unscientific testing, it is softer than many membrane keyboards.
The keyboard is no longer just a tool for input. Folks spend more than 8 hours a day interfacing with the digital using their keyboards (and mouse), so it should be good looking too. Systems shares the same mechanism as the recent Kei v2 keyboard as we utilised (think magnets) so that you can quickly swap between top and bottom pieces (only if you prefer). We've also included a magnetic faceplate that can be paired with your keycap set of choice.
Systems also comes with Series 2 keycaps, an MX compatible super duper cool looking set that fits amazingly on low profile keyboards and can work well on certain high profile keyboards as well. We're looking to work with more folks to release more Series 2 keycap sets. (check it out here).
Systems is our second ever prebuilt product, with keycaps & switches & cable etc all included in one neat little package. It's also an evolution in the way we think about how mechanical keyboards can be a great experience for everyone, even if it all sounds greek to you. We're looking forward to working with more folks who inspire us, starting with our official collaboration with Spy x Family (go watch it) and Timothy Achumba. If this has inspired you to design something with us, feel free to drop us an email and maybe we can work on cool stuff together.
Oh and it comes with a knob, have we mentioned that? It's super cool.
We've so much more to share in 2024, and we look forward to bringing Systems to you.