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Pixels Madness — The Celebration Of Pixel Art

Pixel art lives both in and beyond computer screen. Artists design pixel art posters, magazine covers, album covers, desktop wallpapers, paintings, “pixelish” video ads and even pixelated tattoos. And there is a good reason behind it: in times when popular design solutions strive for real-life-look or perfection pixel art offers a distinctive and creative artistic approach which is extremely expressive. In fact, pixel art can be impressive as well. This post attempts to prove just that.

Below we present over 50 excellent pixel art designs — illustrations, paintings and posters as a part of our ongoing monday inspiration series. Some of the works presented below have an extremely high level of detail which is why you can observe pixel art for hours and still miss some details it contains. You can find ever more resources related to pixel-art in an overview we’ve presented in the end the post.

Please be patient: the images may take some time to load.

The Celebration Of Pixel Art Link

the Swiss patent office
Keen attention to details: the Swiss cheese looks tasty. An ad for SIM Global Education designed by eBoy pixel artists — the recognized masters of pixel art. Resulting pixel animation1.

Pixel Art - MCS_Einstein_patentoffice.jpg (thumb)2”>Lovepixel
Pixels gone mad. Jason Huang, a designer and illustrator from Taiwan has created a… well, unusual splash-page for his portfolio web-site. The “size” of this pixel city is over 10 Mb. Resolution: 10.000×10.000px. Well, that’s A LOT of pixels. We are speechless and feel smashed.

Pixel Art - LOVEPIXEL3

Polyfonken’s Pixel Art
Pixel art illustrations by Tuukka of Finland, Helsinki a.k.a Polyfonken of Ghost Monkey. Outstanding shadows and lightning.

Pixel Art - Polyfonken4
Pixel Art - Polyfonken5

Rod Hunt’s pixelart
Rod Hunt’s illustrations are realistic and colorful. The artists mixes vector graphics and pixel art.

Pixel Art - In a middle of nowhere6
Pixel Art - In a middle of nowhere7

Brazilian and German bloggers Thiago, Pi, Jojo and Mariana present themselves as friendly and laughing pixel characters.

Pixel Art - burp!

Illustration Friday: Green
What about using pixel art to visualize real projects? “This illustration started out as a way to help visualize what the deck on the back of our house is going to look like when it is finally done. This artwork was done pixel by pixel and then some raster art frames and shadows were added to make the piece look a bit nostalgic and antique.”

Pixel Art - Illustration Friday: Green

Pixel Art Desktop Wallpaper
This artwork was created by Juan Manuel Daporta (Caracas, Venezuela) in MSpaint in about 8 months in and out. Impressive.

Pixel Art - Pixel Art Desktop Wallpaper8

3 Square
A painting in the pixel art style. Pixels also live beyond computer screens. Notice how well we can understand the idea behind the pixelated painting. That’s a hard thing to achieve.

/set-1375711/”>Pixel Art - 3 Square
Pixel Art - 3 Square

Robertson’s Pixel Art
Space battles, Super Robot Wars style. Roberson has his own style in the pixel artwork.

Pixel Art - Paul Robertson9

Adobe Air poster
A pixelated poster designed for Adobe Air launch. So many details in one single image. By the way, can you find a monkey on the image below?

Pixel Art - ADO_Airposter_45t_CUT.jpg (PNG, 1088x704 Pixel)10

Men’s Health: Back Pain
How would you interpret this artwork?

Pixel Art - Picasa Web Albums - Mike - Pixel art - MensHealth_Ba...

City of crazy dolls
This illustration is vector-based, but it is designed in the pixel-art-look. An interesting idea.

Pixel Art - WN CityOfCrazyDolls Incomplete

Kirby’s Cupcake
A painting in the pixel-art-style. Created by Ashley Anderson.

Pixel Art - Kirby's Cupcake

Pixel City
Pixel cities deserve their own post. This one has a beach, colorful baloons, a fishman and protesters.

Pixel Art - Pixel City

mKing Henry
A vivid illustration of a theatre stage with King Henry and his court. Resulting animation

Pixel Art - MCS_ShakesBack_17t_henry.jpg (thumb)11

Make Pixel, Not War
Expressive and powerful. This artwork manages to deliver the message directly and reminds of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Pixel Art - Pixel NascImpact - Pixel Art, Galerie, News, Brushs, Goodies, Tutorials (Photoshop, Flash MX)12

Space Invaders, Mario and Pacman on a pixelated playground. The black cat is pretty sweet, too.

Pixel Art - Space Invaders13

Pixel City
Notice the how well different perspectives are used. For instance, Sony and Coca-Cola logos are orthogonal to each other.

Pixel Art - FTN_glbl500cover_11t.jpg14

Ms. Pacman
“This is part of a wedding gift I did for two very good friends. Guess what the other painting is.” Created by Ashley Anderson.

/set-72157601338068529/”>Pixel Art - Ms Pacman

front of the blackboard
Notice how well shadows are used. And coffee seems to be pretty hot. And yes, the mass-energy equivalence is actually E = mc2.

Pixel Art - MCS_Einstein_bboard.jpg (thumb)15

Christ the Redeemer
The famous statue in Rio de Janeiro in pixels. The guy at the top of the statue seems to be a pretty cool one.

Pixel Art - pixel_corcovado16

Communication City
Pixorama one more time. iPods seem to be pretty happy. The six birds too.

Pixel Art - FTN_CommunicationCity_06t.jpg (thumb)17

Darth Vader
This one is freaky. José Eduardo Contreras Moral designs Darth Vader.

Pixel Art - Darth Vader al no tan detalle

Panda Chart
We are not sure if pandas actually eat strawberries. Apparently, they do. A simple yet cute pixel artwork.

Pixel Art - Panda Chart

City Glow
Pixel art meets vector art. Multi-panel graphic installation at Union Square subway station in Japan. An interesting artistic approach. By Chiho Aoshima.

Pixel Art - Little Boy: The Arts of Japan - Exploding Subculture18

Zo fix your polaroids
Pixel art goes vintage. A creative approach.

Pixel Art - Don't forget to fix your polaroids

Warrior of Light
Yes, that’s pixel art. The colors and shading are incredibly smooth. The used palette has only 32 colors.

Pixel Art - Warrior of Light19

Album Cover
A pixelated cover for Groove Armada’s album “Get Down”.

Pixel Art - N73_GAsingle_08k.jpg (th)20

A middle of nowhere
36 colors, 40 hours of work: stunning result. Notice how well shadows are designed. You can also take a look at how this image was created step-by-step21.

Pixel Art - In a middle of nowhere22

Waiting Room
Of course, pixel artists have pixelated wallpapers in their offices. Example: Israeli pixel design studio “Three Squared”.

Pixel Art - 3 Square

8BitBuddy V01
“Rendered in Cinema 4D, part of my 8BitBuddy Pixel inspired 3d 8 bit chaps.”

Pixel Art - 8BitBuddy V01

BerlinKiosk is a game about combining over 300 pixel-products to form the layout of a berlin-underground kiosk. To pixelate 300 products a designer from Berlin, Germany needed two weeks.

Pixel Art - Das Pixeln der BerlinKiosk Produktpalette mit 300 Produkten hat 2 Wochen gedauert.
Pixel Art - Das Pixeln der BerlinKiosk Produktpalette mit 300 Produkten hat 2 Wochen gedauert.
Pixel Art - Das Pixeln der BerlinKiosk Produktpalette mit 300 Produkten hat 2 Wochen gedauert.

Art – Sky TV
A pixelated advertisement for Sky TV.

Pixel Art - Pixel Art - Sky TV

Pixel-Art in Real-Life Link

Sometimes pixels leave the boundaries of computer screens as designers sometimes experiment with pixels and “pixelate” their own environment. This design approach looks distinctive and somehow attractive. Maybe because we all have once stuck on some level playing Mario, Pac-Man or Space Invaders.

BNN/ 101 TV headquarters
570 5.25″ painted floppys glued to the wall. “Walldesigns created together with my buddy Formaddict. Interior design (not finished on this photo) by Workshop of Wonders.”

Pixel Art - Wall designs at BNN/ 101 TV headquarters

Pixel Art – Panda Cross Stitch
A pixelated cross stitch. We’ve seen panda and strawberies above already.

Pixel Art - Panda Cross Stitch

Cooking the OXO way
We’ve all seen books like this. “Pixel art” from 1940s.

Pixel Art - Cooking the OXO way
Pixel Art - Cooking the OXO way

Pixel Art Tattoos
Beautiful and unusual.

Pixel Art - Pixel Art

Bead Pixel Art
Pixelized video game characters built out of beads.

Pixel Art - Funny Pictures - Cats - Bead Pixel Art - Cool Pictures23

Pixelcouch: what about some nerd’s furniture for true pixel ninjas? Royal College of Art graduate (UK) Cristian Zuzunaga has devised a fabric based on a ‘pixel’ concept, which is being produced by Danish manufacturer Kvadrat and sold through Moroso24. The price is unknown yet. [via25]

Pixel Art - - Pixel Couch26

It’s Raining Drea
Pixels meet architecture.

Pixel Art - FFFFOUND!27

Pixel Block Chocolates
This chocolate bar also delivers a “social” message.

Pixel Art - Pixel Block Chocolates With A Social Message - Yanko Design28

Window in Cologne Cathedral
Gerhard Richter has recently redesigned the 113-square-meter Cologne cathedral window. The window is literally pixelated as it is made up of thousands of colorful squares of glass. “Pixel art” large scale.

Pixel Art - Photo Gallery: Richter's Window in Cologne Cathedral - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News29

Space Invaders
Ghost guys from Pac-Man are out there, in front of you and me.

Pixel Art - P1020827

Admire your handy-work
Not bad considering it was all done rather spontaneously over lunch one day.

Pixel Art - Step 6: Admire your handy-work

Last Click Link

Arjan Westerdiep Pixel Art
This video documents the construction of a massive and minutely-detailed pixel illustration. It’s the work of Arjan Westerdiep, who created the image in MS Paint in a process that took him 560 hours. Arjan’s website allows you to click around the entire piece and watch it get drawn pixel by pixel.

Feet – Junior Senior
A pixel-based music video. Pixels old school. Smashing!

Game Over
“Game over” is an art project developed by the Swiss artist Guillaume Reymod. It consists of a series of collaborative animation movies which revive some of the very first video games. The pixels are replaced by a group of real human-beings that are moving from seat to seat in a theatre during about 4 to 6 hours.

Footnotes Link

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SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Hmm, where is the mention of Paul Robertson? Also, about 30% of all the works you showed here were from eBoy. There’s a lot of diversity in pixel art, this is in the end quite a shallow slice of it all.. Just browse through PixelJoint and you’ll tumble across LOADS of beautiful and varied pixel art and talented pixel artists.

  2. 2

    Nice pixels! but you forgot about pixel fonts, you can download some free ones from this page. Gotta love those pixels!

  3. 3

    Thx 4 fonts:)

  4. 4

    Fouad Masoud

    May 5, 2008 3:20 am

    wow this one is amazing!
    my kind of art :D
    love it!

  5. 5 has amazing artwork… all by one man, Rene Miranda. check it out

  6. 6

    Marc Dandoy

    May 5, 2008 3:34 am

    I love it! Seems like a lot of work for just one piece of art though.

  7. 7

    Nice choices! Pixel art rules!

  8. 8

    You brought it back! Another quality post from Smashing Magazine to prove you can do better than dodgy photo posts.

    I love the way you explore more ‘out of the box’ ideas, like the paintings, tattoo and sofa, it makes for inspiring stuff!

  9. 9

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 5, 2008 4:56 am

    @RlemBCN: Edushi isn’t missing. Please check out the References section.

  10. 10

    Pat Dryburgh

    May 5, 2008 5:30 am

    The indie-rock band “The Format” has a pretty awesome website. It is a pixel art flash-based website.

    Check it out at

  11. 11

    Absolutely love pixel art. Great article!

  12. 12

    mooooooooy bueno

  13. 13


    May 5, 2008 6:49 am

    you spelled excellent incorrectly in the bold text (2nd para)

  14. 14

    You forgot about pixelated audio!

    For starters, there’s the infamous 8-bit Construction Set, and 8bitpeoples record label!

  15. 15

    Hey, thanks for adding my pixel illustration to the list. I am humbled to be included with such wonderful talent. And for those that want to know, I’ve never used anything but Photoshop since I started out making pixel art way back on version 2.0. Nothing else compares or gets the job done faster since I have used it for so many years. Kim

  16. 16

    Eric Daigh

    May 5, 2008 7:58 am

    Great list. I respectfully submit my own pixel work:
    -Eric Daigh

  17. 17

    Love it!!! Totally awesome Monday inspiration, guys! Gave me a better kick than redbull and donuts. :3

  18. 18

    Ms Pac Man looks like it was drawn by a 7 year old, no idea why it was included in this otherwise great showcase of fantastic art.

  19. 19

    The “Einstein in the Swiss patent office” reminds me of a lego creation!

  20. 20

    Why Not This

    May 5, 2008 10:42 am

    Um, what about ? Only one of the coolest comics around…


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