How much do you care about the visual design of Rack Modules?

  • I will not use an ugly module
  • I will use an ugly module but only if no alternatives exist
  • I slightly prefer good looking modules
  • I don’t consider the visual appearance of a module when building a patch
  • I actively seek out ugly modules
  • I only use modules whose visual appearance offends me and others

0 voters


I’ll prefer good looking, but one aspect of visual design I rarely forgive is poor density. I use a standard definition 21" pen display at 100% zoom: I always prefer modules that are space-efficient but where the controls that matter are big. Can’t go wrong imitating Fundamental’s density!


“Usability” is very important to me, eye candy not so much. Says the dev who makes ugly modules but would make them nicer if I could.


Very little (I enjoy VCV far more with my ears than my eyes), but where alternatives exist I’ll always choose the most aesthetically pleasing. As more people come to the VCV party, aesthetics will increase in importance.

PS. All modules that are amended to take of advantage of modular fungi dark mode go to the top of my list to (re)try next :upside_down_face:


What does this mean?

good looking and usability are achieved by the same tricks

  • using colors and contrast with balance

  • using a grid

  • leave blank space

  • not too crowded information

Doing this will both help the good looking aspect by being pleasing to the eye AND help reading and using.

@Squinky Common, this is just so good looking everything works perfect together!


He likely means modules that make their custom drawing widgets for lights shine like Rack lights when the dark mode is turned on in that overall brightness controlling module. I have started looking into the code for how to do this, but haven’t spotted the nanovg trick yet :slight_smile:


see here:


Cool, I was not aware of that module!

Definitely a sucker for a nice panel and definitely influences me when trying out new plugins.

I only tend to use “ugly” or basic looking models if I see them in an Omri video and really like what they do, otherwise I tend to stick to the same 9-10 manufacturers maybe just out of habit or something, but I do think all my regulars look “pretty nice”

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Well, that’s nice of you. I’d still say functional rather than pretty, and one can do both, as you know. I actually do have an (out of date) style guide that tells me what the RGB value of “Squinky Blue” is, as well as the grey background :wink:


i voted that i prefer good looking modules. i prefer them thats why i am working to put together a github component library. good looking modules add to the over all experience. i dont mind ugly modules but “ugly” is subjective as is “good looking”. i firmly believe the future of rack UI is more detailed module components/layout. look at the new Oxid plugin. they prove that highly detailed gradient use works fine in vcv. if rack doesnt evolve visually then it is destined to look old and outdated.

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Haven’t been offended by a module so far but love that option and can’t wait for it to happen :smiley:

The biggest problem I see with this question in general is that ugliness is not easy to define. What someone finds beautiful might feel cheesy for someone else, what’s ugly/confusing for some might be refreshing for others. Aesthetics can only be discussed meaningfully in terms of specific contexts and viewpoints.

Personally, I have strong opinions about looks and can be picky with stuff involving visual design but I love the eclectic nature of Rack. The variety of modules (in terms of looks) helps to smooth out the roughness of bad-looking ones, and since it is impossible to have a coherent look (at least it would be a foolish waste to not use modules just cause they don’t fit a certain look imo) I feel somewhat freed from being concerned with this too much.


I see "good design’ and ‘aesthetics’ as quite different things - to the extent where the pursuit of ‘aesthetics’ often leads to quite poor ‘design’.

Design and functionality are two sides of the same coin and to achieve a good balance, each must be given equal weight. As a designer, I consider making things look good is really the last 5% of the job. But the 95% of the job before that, if done well, usually ends up making things look good anyway as a byproduct…if that makes sense :).


Oxid uses a png (bitmap) rather than svg (vector) background. It looks good - but if all modules did this it would have quite significant performance issues for Rack I expect.

3D gradient stuff is actually considered old fashioned these days and flat design is all the rage you know :slight_smile:


Yes, what you say makes total sense. I also fell into that trap of “aesthetics first” you mention. :slight_smile:

That being said, I thought this poll was more concerned about aesthetics than design in general (hence the word “ugly” being used in the options instead something relating to usability, clarity etc).

About the Oxid png panels, I’m not so sure that bitmap backgrounds are a serious performance issue since Rack uses framebuffers for all panels (basically it draws the panel onto a rasterized texture and uses that to draw onto the screen) so they don’t differ that much from svg ones in the end. I suspect drawing a bitmap as is can even be faster sometimes than drawing a vector image shape-by-shape. The downside of bitmap textures (apart from being pixelated up-close) is size on disk, they can easily take up more space than vector images.


Sort of wish Alikins color panel supported this. Also, all VU meters.


i generally avoid modules with too high contrast, especially blinding white, yellow, or red (thexor, ah, and yes, even fundamental). sometimes i will edit the faceplate graphics to make them more eye-friendly. i also remove the screws, which in my opinion are just visual noise. this has led me to even avoid vult, since its graphics are uneditable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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good point. But I think rack 2.0 is going to have different number of pixels per mm, which could cause bitmap panels to look terrible.

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I agree with the others that highly detailed 3-D knobs and such look extremely dated. They look nice, but quite dated. I can’t think of any other software I use where this skeuomorphism isn’t completely passe.