5 innovative keyboards to make design work easier

As designers and developers, it's incredible how time we spend pushing keys, whether that's switching between programs, exercising shortcuts or typing emails to clients. So it’s worth investing in a decent keyboard to improve your productivity.

You don't want to leave your computer at the end of the day with your wrists in agony, either, so comfort is just as important. This often disregarded piece of hardware can play a hefty role in making your working life more bearable. These five innovative keyboards may provide the boost you've been looking for...

01. Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard

The Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard is great for working through the night
  • Compatible with: Mac, PC, tablets, smartphones

The Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard is a stylish, backlit keyboard with one-touch easy switching between your desktop computer, tablet and smartphone.

This keyboard will come in handy for tight deadlines, with the backlit keys perfect for night shifts. The keys remain visible thanks to auto-adjusting illumination, which dims or brightens depending on the amount of light in the room.

Handy feature

Another great feature is the ‘Hand Proximity Detection’ - a motion sensor that detects your hands as they approach the keyboard and turns the backlight on/off to help you save power when you are not typing. The keyboard is also USB rechargeable.

Not only does this keyboard come packed full of features, it looks great as well, with a brushed aluminum finish and ultra-thin, compact design. Handy for designers on the move.

02. Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard

This solar powered wireless keyboard makes battery failure a thing of the past
  • Compatible with: Mac

Powered by light - even indoors - this wireless keyboard makes battery hassles a thing of the past. It all works straight out of the box, with no software installation required. Combining the best of traditional keyboards, laptops and a Logitech-only concave key cap design, you’ll enjoy faster, quieter, feel-good typing hour after hour. The Logitec K750 also comes with a three-year limited hardware warranty.

03. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 review

  • Compatible with: Mac, PC

According to some studies, ergonomic keyboard designs have been associated with significant reduction of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Microsoft's Ergonomic 4000 enables you to rest your wrists as you work, while the curved key bed produces a natural angle to type.

Apart from the comfort and support on offer, enjoy quick customizable ways to reach files, folders, and web pages with handy hot keys. Plus the Zoom Slider in the middle of the keyboard enables you to zone in and out of projects with the touch of a finger.

04. Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

The Launchpad feature makes switching between designs and software simple and swift
  • Compatible with: Mac, PC

The Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad features an elegant, ultrathin aluminum enclosure with low-profile keys that provide a crisp, responsive feel. It also has function keys for one-touch access to a variety of Mac features, our favourite being Launchpad, which makes switching between designs and software simple and swift.

The numeric keypad will benefit developers and software users when numbers are used frequently, and two USB ports enable you to connect your mouse and other high-speed peripherals such as a digital camera or printer.

05. Cherry G80 Keyboard

Properly switched keys give the 'feel' that a fast typists crave
  • Compatible with: Mac, PC

The Cherry G80 is a high-quality keyboard for outstanding writing performance. Properly switched keys with gold contacts give the special 'feel' that a fast typist requires. This is a real contender for those involved in virtually continuous typing.

There's also a MX mechanical key switch, which gives you an audible click with a tactile feel. Our only issue is that there are no raised dots on the F and J keys (these assist fast typists to help ensure that their fingers are still aligned without looking). Nevertheless this is a great keyboard that will have you blasting through creative briefs or code.

Words: Aaron Kitney

Aaron Kitney is a freelance graphic designer and art director based in London and Vancouver. He specialises in branding, identity, web design, publication design, packaging and book design.

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Have you found a keyboard that made your design work easier, more comfortable and/or more productive? Let us know about it in the comments!