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Who is biip?

If you’ve been around the keyboard world for a while, you’ve probably come across the name “biip” before. He’s among the most iconic keycap set designers of the modern era, and he’s been active in the space for over 5 years now. We won’t list his entire portfolio here, but suffice it to say that biip’s greatest hits would simply be a list of all his designs—Milkshake, Extended 2048, Dots, Twist, to name just a few.  In conjunction with the launch of biip’s latest keycap set, MT3 Operator, we wanted to get to know the man behind the designs a little better. We’ve compiled a list of questions, along with submissions from Drop Keyboard Club (DKC) members, which biip has graciously responded to for you all to enjoy. Let’s dive in! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history—relevant to Mech Keys or not. We want to get to know the person behind the iconic designs. Where are you from, what is your “day career,” what are your other hobbies and interests?  I am a digital designer based in Strasbourg, France, with over 10 years of experience in the field of communication, specializing in visual communication, editorial design, web design, and visual identity. Aside from designing keycaps, I am also very interested in photography, product design, and coffee. I have always been interested in playful objects since I was a child and have always been curious about visual arts. This interest in visual arts led me to study applied arts, where I developed a particular sensitivity for typography and graphic design. After completing my studies, I had the opportunity to work in a communication agency as a graphic designer, where I honed my skills and eventually reached the position of Art Director. In 2023, after a decade in the communication world, I decided to devote myself full time to designing keycaps sets in addition to my digital design services (branding, graphic design and web/UI design).  What is your Mech Keys origin story? (What exposed you to mechanical keyboards, and why did you become involved in the community?)  In 2017, I discovered the world of mechanical keyboards and keycaps, and I became intrigued by the ability to customize and personalize an object that I use daily. This inspired me to design my very first keycap set the following year on the occasion of the Massdrop 2017 Keycaps Contest. I didn't win, but that's what got me into the custom mechanical keyboard hobby! I was drawn to the idea of creating something unique and personalized for an object that I use every day, and I wanted to create keycap sets that would have an impact on the daily user experience, and it is in this state of mind that I started working on DSA Milkshake. Which of your own designs are you most proud of?  My favorite keycap set that I've designed is GMK Dots. The design is based on a minimalistic approach using dots as keycaps legends. I believe that this set is unique and creative, utilizing dots to create a minimalistic and singular touch to the design. It was a really bold idea and I am very proud to have been able to make it happen. What is your favorite design of someone else’s?  My favorite keycap set that I did not design is GMK Kaiju by Nephlock. The inspiration for the set comes from classic Japanese monster movies. I appreciate the contrast the color scheme provides and the sleek novelties. What has been the hardest lesson you learned during your experience as a designer?  I've learned that it is crucial to listen to community feedback, but also to not rush a project. It's important to balance the needs of the community with the practical considerations of manufacturing, without compromising the quality of the final product. I've also learned that it's important to stand firm when dealing with manufacturers or vendors that do not want to do additional rounds of samples, as this can impact the quality of the final product. It is by making mistakes that we learn… What is something you haven’t been able to design—for technical reasons, licensing, or otherwise—that you would design in a heartbeat, if you could?  Hmm, probably a Pac-Man + Ghosts extension kit for GMK Dots ha! I’m sure we’ve all thought to ourselves, “Oh, there should be a keycap set designed around X!” How do you decide which designs are worth pursuing and putting time and effort into?  When deciding which designs to pursue, I consider a few factors, such as whether it aligns with my personal style and interests, whether it would be a unique addition to the market, and whether it has potential for commercial success—but above all, there must be no potential copyright/license issues. It has to be based on something that speaks to me, that inspires me, otherwise I would have a really hard time bringing something original. When you approach a new keycap set, do you draw from a need in your own collection ("I need a set of caps that are just dots...") or are you seeking to simply create something that hasn't been done before? (submitted by DKC member @storyboardtech) When I approach a new keycap set, it's a mix of both drawing from a need in my own collection and seeking to create something new. I often design sets that I personally want to use and would enjoy having in my collection, but I also like to challenge myself to come up with interesting and singular projects. And as I said above, since there are themes that are close to my heart, I would literally fight to bring them to life! How many different iterations does a design typically go through before being finalized? Would you be willing to share some early-stage work in progress designs with the readers?  It's difficult to estimate the exact number of iterations a design will go through before being finalized, as each project is unique and may require more or fewer changes than others. Generally, I start with a concept and then experiment with different colors, patterns, and icons until I find a design that I am happy with. I usually create early-stage work-in-progress designs on large artboards in Illustrator or Procreate and just work with colors, patterns and shapes in a sort of visual brainstorming phase. Once the design is in a more finalized state, I may ask a manufacturer (most of the time, through a vendor) for physical samples in order to test and further refine the design. This can involve multiple rounds of changes and adjustments until the design is ready for production. (It is very rare to be able to approve a prototype at its first iteration.) While I'm not able to share specific early-stage designs, I often share progress updates and teasers on social media and community forums. There is, however, a small closed group of people to whom I allow myself to tease the beginnings of my new keysets in order to get feedback. Twist is a really interesting set (that I don't own yet, but really want), in that it is very saturated, and most of it is muted, with the exception of the yellow caps. How do you attain readability with a set like that? Is it difficult to decide how light to make the legends? (submitted by DKC member @storyboardtech)  Hmm, to be honest, a clever mix of feeling, experience, and color theory haha. There is no correct answer; it's all about testing in different environments, with different lightings. What software/hardware setup do you use to create your designs?  I primarily use Adobe Illustrator and Procreate to create my designs. Illustrator is particularly important because all the keycap templates need to be vector.  How does the design process differ across manufacturers/vendors?  The design process can differ across manufacturers/vendors, but generally, the process is similar. The designer will create a design and then work with the manufacturer/vendor to produce samples, refine the design based on feedback, and then prepare for a group buy (or a future sale as in-stock). Some manufacturers/vendors may have different requirements or limitations, such as the available keycap profiles, colors, and plastic materials, so the designer may need to adjust the design to fit those requirements. Where do you tend to draw the most inspiration from?   I draw inspiration from a wide range of sources, including music, movies, toys, and even food or cocktails. Playing with LEGO and inventing fictional scenes during my childhood also helped me develop an eye for construction, color, and pattern, which has influenced my approach to designing keycap sets. Nostalgia is a powerful driver, and one of the reasons that sets like 2048 are so successful. How do you create something that nods to the past while not copying and pasting it? How do you make it your own? (submitted by DKC member @storyboardtech) I would say it's all about being inspired and taking the best of the past and re-working it into a contemporary version; understanding what made the old product look nice, what made the object good, reinterpreting it while keeping its original essence. What are the odds of getting more Weirdo bases, in other Biip sets? I daily drive Milkshake Weirdo on my QK60 at home, and it's super fun. Always catches folks off guard, but maintains a real classic appeal. (submitted by DKC member @storyboardtech) The Weirdos belong to Milkshake because I created the font to match the icons (which I also created) with a rounded line style. It wouldn't make sense to offer them with extended keyguards that have a condensed, slanted/oblique, sans-serif font; it wouldn't fit. And even if there were a set that would fit, I still think people associate Weirdos and Milkshake, so I'd rather create something new. What keyboard/setup do you personally use? I like to switch between different keyboards, but my current daily boards are a TGR GAF 910 and an Aurora Input Series 80, both featuring vintage ergo clears 62-gram switches. ______________________ Thank you biip for allowing us to ask questions—and giving us great answers. Let us know if you enjoyed the interview and if you’d like to see more designer interviews in the future. Don't forget to hit “Request” to be the first to know when the set launches.

Mar 5, 2023
sorry ive only recently got into keyboard biulding and stuff is this dropped if it is where can i buy and if not when is it dropping or is it not dropping
H2P_SavageboyJust launched today! Here is the link: MT3 Operator
I really like mt3 2048 sets were split and has a lot of compatibility with different layouts, and the icons were just plain fun. Looking forward to seeing Operator.
Feb 28, 2023
How about DCX Extended 2048?
Feb 28, 2023
Those keycaps are a real banger
Feb 28, 2023
Okay, those keycaps look really nice.
Feb 27, 2023
Could we please have an ErgoDox set of caps, too?
Feb 27, 2023
Great interview! What's the timing on MT3 operator release and ship timelines?
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