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09 Aug 2018

CCL Design - Combining decorative overlays with functionality

CCL Design - Combining decorative overlays with functionality

Decorative overlays are often taken for granted for user interfaces. Membrane keypads and other input devices need to be functional and robust given the often testing environment in which they are deployed. That does not have to mean they should be bland and unattractive.

Decorative overlays are essentially what makes an end product (washing machine, dryer, cooker etc) more aesthetically appealing. You do not have to give up aesthetically pleasing design in order to maintain functionality.

Membrane keypads and their versatility

Before the touch screen, the choices in user interface input relied heavily on either mechanical keyboards or membrane keypads. The membrane keypad eventually gained popularity as a preferable choice over the mechanical keyboards. The electronic functionality of these products is protected by a sleek polycarbonate outer covering. They can be dressed for use in different challenging and harsh environments, or easily fit for indoor and outdoor use.


One of the main reasons why design plays an important aspect in graphic overlay is the target demographic. Airline and railway services often have similar if not uniform designs in terms of their customer input devices. The symbols used are pretty much uniform in design and shape.

Since they both operate 24/7, back lit keypads are used to show access if there is poor and/or little natural or artificial light. Membrane keypads and input device design lends itself well to back lighting, since there is virtually zero possibility of water or liquid ingress.

Various household appliances and products make use of very similar minimalist symbols for their user inputs. One could consider these choices as a branding decision, allowing for a more stand-out appeal to consumers. Uniformity of symbols on TV and audio remote controls, household appliances and other input devices prevents customer and end user alienation. These symbols can easily be printed on to customized membranes for future input device usage.

Creative and intuitive design

These stylistic and minimalist vector-based symbols are simple for a good reason. Convenient user interface is what makes membrane keypads almost universally recognised and easy to learn.

The usage and design of the keypads make it so that it’s relatively easy for customers to make use of the manufacturer’s products and appliances and for first-timers to adjust to the learning curve of using complicated industrial equipment without the need to go page to page in the product manual in knowing the product’s instructions.

Combining decorative overlays with functionality can be easily achieved with modern printing techniques. With control charts to manage colour consistency and using spectrometers for initial colour analysis, we can deliver on demand decorative functionality for any input device.

Why be bland when you can colourful, brash and original?

Our Membrane Keypads, Membrane Keyboards and Membrane Switch products are renowned for providing absolute reliability even in the most hostile of operating environments. With a vast array of technical specifications available the perfect solution can always be offered by CCL Design. Contact us now to learn more: [email protected] , 01249 460 606

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