Keyboard, Opinion

Glorious Slammed for Copying Keycap Design

Glorious forayed into the enthusiast keyboard scene quite a bit since it released the Glorious Panda switch and the GMMK Pro. Just recently, the company introduced a couple of new keycap sets, and…they look very similar to existing sets.

In response, many folks – even big names in the custom keyboard hobby – are criticizing Glorious’ action. Though the design of the keycap sets in question are not exactly the same, you can definitely see the similarities.

So what are the keycap sets that started this uproar? Well, they’re Glorious’ new GPBT Celestial Fire and Celestial Ice sets. Celestial Fire is very similar to Infinikey Aether designed by Alexotos (a keyboard content creator), while Celestial Ice looks like SA DreamEater.

As mentioned, these four keycaps sets are not carbon copies of each other, but there’s no denying that they share a similar design language. Judge for yourself with the images below.

Quite similar, aren’t they? Granted, clones of popular keycap sets – especially ones from GMK – have always been available in the market, but it’s very rare for a big, established company like Glorious to do the same. Needless to say, this is frowned upon by the custom keyboard community.

In fact, many keyboard content creators have posted a response to the release of the GPBT Celestial keycaps; even Taeha Types himself chimed in. These are some of their responses:

A few days after the Celestial keycaps went up for sale, Glorious finally released a statement addressing the situation. “Neither set (Celestial Fire and Ice) was modeled after or inspired by any specific existing set,” the company wrote.

But sometime during the production process, it “came to light internally that the Celestial Fire colourway looked similar to that of an existing set put out by Alexotos,” Glorious continued.

“Although the colourways were similar (Celestial Fire and Aether), after internal discussion, our production teams agreed the final design was not a copy of Aether, and continued with production. We did not consult Alex at this time, as we were confident the keycap set had enough differences, and Aether was no longer being produced,” the company added.

A couple of weeks before release, Glorious did eventually get in touch with Alexotos, in which he expressed “clear disappointment upon seeing the similarities between the sets.” He also told Glorious of his plan to release a second run of the Aether keycap set (Glorious was unaware of this) and that Celestial Fire could harm him financially.

“The next day, we reached back out to Alex with intentions of coming to a mutual resolution to preserve our working relationship. Unfortunately, we were not able to come to an agreement at that time,” Glorious said. The company added that since the first batches of Celestial keycaps have been made, Glorious proceeded with the release.

“Since the release of Celestial, we have received a lot of feedback from both customers and partners. The passion from the community about this topic is clear, and many feel angered and hurt by the situation.”

“We realise we made a mistake proceeding with the release of this keycap set without informing and involving Alex much earlier in the process,” wrote Glorious. With this in mind, Glorious wants to do what is right by the keyboard community and Alexotos, and the company reached an “amicable resolution with him.”

The resolution includes an offer to compensate him financially, which was “respectfully turned down” by Alexotos. Glorious also said it agreed to his ideas for how the company can do a better job of working within the keyboard community moving forward.

“We want to do a better job incorporating the community as a whole during the early production process of all our keyboard products so that this doesn’t happen again,” Glorious said.

While it’s great that Glorious addressed the issue at hand, it’s worth noting that the similarity between Celestial Ice and SA DreamEater was not mentioned at all in the statement.

It’s worth noting that Glorious is no stranger to controversy either. The Glorious Panda, for example, was actually called Holy Panda at first; a direct reference to the original (and hugely popular) frankenswitch. To top it off, the company even tried to trademark the name, drawing ire from the custom keyboard community.

Eventually, Glorious later rebranded the switch to Glorious Panda after the uproar. This name change was positively received by the community…for the most part. Anyway, when we take into consideration this past issue with the current keycap drama, it’s not a good look for Glorious.

As much as the custom mechanical keyboard scene has grown over the years, it still remains a niche hobby. So when a large company like Glorious releases a keycap set that looks strikingly similar to an existing set – which is usually designed by smaller entities – this (understandably) doesn’t bode well with the community.

Hopefully, Glorious does take necessary measures to ensure that something like this will not happen again in the future, especially with future releases of the Celestial keycap sets.

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