You may have noticed a lot of pixelation on the web lately. And it is by design.
Pixel art and pixel fonts – a design element that’s not necessarily new – are making a trending comeback. Pixel art and fonts often refer to some of the same elements – designs sometimes contain pixel type or design elements with non-pixel elements. The overall look has a “beginning of the web” feel.
Here’s a look at this website, font, and graphic design trend and how to use it in your projects.
What are Pixel Art and Pixel Fonts?
Pixel art is a form of digital art where images are created using small pixels, while pixel fonts are fonts that are designed to look like they are made up of pixels. Both design elements have a nostalgic feel to them, and they are often used to create retro or vintage designs.
According to My Modern Met, pixel art is decades old:
“Pixel art was born in the 1970s, albeit very crude in comparison with the digital art of today. Because of technological restrictions and the general newness of the field, users were limited to the graphics they could create. Some of the earliest pixel art was merely squares and rectangles.”
You might remember playing with software such as SuperPaint or the graphics from the original Mario Bros. video game. Both are prime examples of pixel art in action.
Pixel fonts are very much the same concept on with lettering. You may also call these screen or bitmap fonts and all the letterforms have a block-style design without the flowing curves and lines of other characters. These fonts are also often monospaced, as well.
Characteristics of this Design Trend
This design trend is generally easy to spot due to its pixelated appearance.
There are a few other common characteristics as well.
Pixel art and pixel fonts typically use a limited color palette, often with bright and bold colors. The small size of the pixels combined with a lot of color can make the design look cluttered.
These designs innately have a nostalgic feel, making them popular for creating designs with a retro or vintage look. On the other hand, you might also find pixel design in elements with a futuristic feel, probably because of their history (and even a little nostalgia for futuristic designs of the past.)
The pixelated appearance of this trend can make designs feel playful and fun, which is why they are often used for websites featuring games, animations, and even elements like NFTs.
Creating pixel art and pixel fonts requires the use of grids to ensure that the pixels are all the same size and that the design is consistent.
Anti-aliasing is often used in pixel art and pixel fonts to smooth out jagged edges and create a more polished look.
Tips for Using Pixel Art or Fonts
The good news for you is that this is a fairly versatile trend with plenty of practical applications if it works for the vibe of your project.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your design hits the mark:
- Use a grid: When creating pixel art or pixel fonts, use a grid to keep your designs consistent and ensure that pixels are all the same size.
- Start with a limited color palette: Pixel art and pixel fonts look best when they have a limited color palette.
- Animation is ok: Combine pixel art with animated effects to create a more modern feel.
- Consider proportions: The small size of pixels means that even small errors in proportion are noticeable.
- Use anti-aliasing: This technique smooths out jagged edges in pixel art. It can help to make your designs look more polished.
- Experiment with different styles: Pixel art and pixel fonts can be used in various styles, from retro and vintage to modern and futuristic; this design technique needs to match your content to be effective.
- Pick an element: You don’t have to create a full pixel aesthetic; you can use it for one part of the design.
- Use this trend sparingly: Too much pixel art or pixel fonts can make your designs look dated or unorganized.
Some Pixel Art and Pixel Fonts to Try
The fun thing about the pixel trend is you can use it with almost anything. Here are 10 examples of pixel art and pixel fonts that you can download and use for projects from Envato Elements.
Pixel Pop Art Music Festival Flyer
Pixel Art Photo Effect
Pixel Dog Mascot
Arcade Tube CRT Effect
8-Bit Photo Effect Mockup
Super Pixels Font
Pixel 2 Color SVG Font
Pixel Rand Font
MonoPixel Awesome Font
NT Brick Sans Font
Working with pixel art and pixel fonts can be a lot of fun on the path to a trendy design. It’s important to pay attention to detail and understand the strengths and challenges of these design elements.
Remember the tips above and match your content to create an effective design incorporating this almost timeless design trend into your portfolio.