Customizable keyboards aimed at the macro-heavy workflow of illustrators, designers, photographers, developers, and other content creators are nothing new. But Work Louder’s Creator Board arrives as a next level option, with both flavors of the brand’s mechanical keyboards outfitted with a plethora of programmable input options that can be added or removed as desired, alongside up to five rotary dials to give users precise control over whatever tasks requiring such attention.
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Available in two sizes, Creator Board and Creator Board XL, both keyboards are populated with up to 236 programable keys spread across 4 separate key layers. That’s the equivalent of more than 3x the keys compared to a full-sized keyboard packed into a relatively compact footprint. Additionally, both flavors of the similar design are VIA/QMK visual configurator compatible, meaning the entire layout can be remapped for shortcut commands for maximum customization.
The standard Creator Board actually encompasses four different designs of the same keyboard with varying layouts mixing and matching the brand’s Work board, Nano pad, and Loop pad. The pads can be attached or removed from its modular grid base plate, allowing for expansion (or editing) as preference or workflow dictates.
You may have noticed the keys themselves are lined in an ortholinear grid layout rather than the standard staggered QWERTY design. Work Louder claims the grid “creates superior wrist and typing ergonomics” but this probably comes down to personal preference rather than any objective improvement in universal ergonomics. The good news is the order of the layout of the keys themselves remains the same as your run of the mill computer keyboard, meaning in use it should take a minimal amount of time for your fingers to adapt to the grid of keys.
The Creator Board isn’t necessarily a design we’d call subtle. Work Louder is working on a more svelte low profile model scheduled for release next year with a little less attitude. Outfitted with a more sedate countenance to its overall design, the Nomad-e will include a standard staggered keycaps layout and a customizable 1.9″ 170×320 pixels IPS TFT backlit display in four different colorways.
Obviously most people don’t need, nor necessarily want a $249-$559 keyboard with so many options. As the Creator Board name communicates, these are specialty input devices in the same realm as Teenage Engineering’s highly desirable catalog, aimed at creatives regularly operating under the duress of demanding deadlines, who rely upon shortcuts as a vital means of productivity, and who can ultimately justify the cost of a tool designed with standout upgradeability.