Varmilo’s Keith Haring keycap set released today, and is the third in their Master & The Masterpieces series. His bold lines, vibrant colours, and accessible style has made him a pop art icon– you can see his work scrawled on everything from t-shirts to subway stations– and they’re an inspired pick for a set of keycaps. But the set also looks more restrained than their previous Monet and Kahlo sets, so how is it?
His radiant babies, dancing people, and barking dog are iconic and immediately recognisable. They’re also simple symbols that could easily fit on a key, but sadly they didn’t make the cut– according to our interview with Varmilo, they originally had four styles on the table, but three styles were left on the cutting room floor when printing wasn’t going perfectly.
This set also doesn’t come with a cute keycap showing off the artist, or any other specific pieces. I do wonder if the Keith Haring Foundation was involved, and whether copyright issues were raised. If they were, it’s a shame, because one of Keith Haring’s biggest aims was to make art accessible to everyone– and what’s more accessible than a keyboard?
If you want to add a little pop to this set, check out the Retro Minilo that this Haring set can be bundled with. Its orange accents suit the Keith Haring set well, and you’ll also save a little with the bundle. If you don’t mind spending a little more, the Varmilo CMYK 80% (87 keys) is a more vibrant choice, and also makes full use of the keycap set’s 83 keys (but leaves a couple unchanged, like the home key).
And if you’re wondering about whether these pop art doodles will rub off with a little elbow grease, they won’t. They’re not painted or dyed, but sublimated with a “five-sided heating process”– which is nice. How do they feel?
But physically, the keys are quite nice. They’re made of tough PBT, and they’re ergonomically designed. They cup your fingers while you type, and make it easier to distinguish the keys. For art fans, they don’t disappoint, but there are some points to note when you’re buying these. Though you’ll be swapping these onto your keeb, the keycaps alone don’t come with a keycap puller– though the Minilo bundle does. And no part of the keys are transparent– which is a bummer if you have flashy backlighting set up, or work in the dark often.
Is the bundle worth it?
If you’re on the fence about picking the bundle or just snagging the keycaps, the bundle is a better price than buying separately, and the Minilo is a nice keyboard– review coming soon. But by buying the Minilo in this bundle, you have no choice of switches and will get Kailh Prestige Silent switches. And of course since this is a bundle, you’ll have to pull and plug the keys yourself for the Keith Haring keyboard in the photos.
Which artists are next?
Varmilo’s next two sets for the Masters & The Masterpieces series will be a woodblock print style set for Kitagawa Utamaro, and a Chinese ink and wash set for Zheng Xie. And, word to the wise, if you’re interested in the set, you’ll want to buy them quickly. These artist sets have been selling out quickly– within a couple of weeks– and I’m still kicking myself for missing out on the gorgeous Monet set.
If you interested about how the Master & The Masterpieces series was born, and what the design process is like, check out our interview with the series’ creator, DaiFangsu, one of the designers at Varmilo.
Disclaimer: This review was written with a review set sent from Varmilo.
Keith Haring Keycaps
Pop Art style
Only 83 Keys
None of Haring's Iconic Characters
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