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Designing DCD Bird Jungle

We met designer ArqKeebs in the previous Studio Story for DCD Bird Jungle. Now, let’s learn a little more about the keycap set itself—how Arq pulls inspiration from the real world and creates unique and compelling designs based on various source materials. 

​Clearly birds are a common theme between your most recent set and the Bird Jungle keycap set; have you always been interested in ornithology, or was that a more recent interest? Is there anything in particular that draws you to birds over other inspiration? Honestly it's something recent. After seeing the Hyacinth macaw everything changed. I never paid attention to birds before. It's like when you see something once then see it everywhere. People need to take 5 minutes just to google up some birds. There are some wild and just stunning birds. Their colors are truly wonderful.  Side question as a board game fan—have you ever played Wingspan? If so, does that inspire you with its artwork and design choices? I didn't grow up in a board game household sadly. I'll definitely check it out! I recently got into Catan and it's wild! Bird Jungle was inspired by a vintage View-Master reel; did all of the colors you selected for the set come from that line of inspiration, or mainly the art style and overall theme? If not, what led you to select those particular hues and shades for the set? You are correct! Bird jungle was inspired more specifically based on the Parrot Jungle edition.
The colors are based on that vintage look. The sub legends were originally going to be orange instead of red and the legends Green. Hopefully one day this version could see the light of day.
But trying the colors out I went with red sub legends  and black  legends. I was trying to go for more vintage and classic colors. Maybe I'm a bit biased haha. The art style is actually a contrast to that vintage look. If you take a look at it you can see the lines are sharp and actually very techy. Compared to the View-Master you can see the illustration is very organic. Is there anything that you wanted to do for the Bird Jungle set that you weren’t able to accomplish? Due to physical limitations of legend sizes, etc. Keycap sets have many limitations. So playing around and finding solutions for them is always a challenge. You can see below how it evolved. From the sizing, centering, how full they are. All of those were under consideration. Some challenges were how to make it look good without making it feel overcrowded. I would have loved to give it more details and colors, but that’s  just not possible with so little space. First Iteration
Final iteration

What does your software and/or design process look like? How do you take an idea from concept to actual design? Well everything starts with research. For DCD Bird Jungle was to look into a lot of birds and pick the most with distinguishable features. Rough sketches, brainstorming, and picking a style. The style really defines the personality of the set. I was trying for that vintage, but classic look and I think I was able to manage that. I picked the birds by their name like S for swan and so forth. This got challenging with more obscure birds. For DCD Bird jungle I was for sure going with a beige color, but there are so many shades! (you can see some canceled mod bird icons). It's trial and error until you get to what you are aiming for or at least that is how I do it.

Do you have any early or in-progress versions of the Bird Jungle design to give a glimpse into your design process? Here are some initial takes! I’ll probably reuse one of them for a MT3 take. Let's hope for the best! Guess which one. Getting feedback is very important. I have a close group of friends that gets to see them first and they truly roast my ideas sometimes.

Question for Bingo—how do you accomplish such incredible renders of the set? Are all elements in the IC cover photo rendered or is it a render overlaid on a photo? What I always say is that the secret is to have good lights and a good composition, and always be looking for references! And incredible as it may seem, all the elements of the cover are in 3D!

Do you have any designs in the works that you could tease or cryptically allude to here?

Thank you ArqKeebs for allowing us to pry into your life and process like this, and for the amazing answers! Let us know if you enjoyed the interviews and if you’d like to see more like this in the future.

Nov 23, 2023
The green legends would have been sick...
Thank you the for interview and the opportunity to work with you guys!
Nov 21, 2023
So stoked for this. I've got a beige NCR80 waiting for these and I think the pairing is going to go really well to achieve a vintage aesthetic. Love to see the vintage poster inspiration as well! Still can't decide weather to go RGB mods, or full beige novelties. TBH Gigachad mods are kind of on the table too... so many different directions to take this.
hey mom I was in the interview!
Mrbingo5000Thanks again for everything! ❤️
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