Punny 8-bit pixel art

A passion project on combining 8-bit retro pixel design with dank memes and puns that are punny as hell.

How did I start

"Designers don't know how to communicate".

As a digital Swiss knife, communication is my bread-and-butter. I refused to accept the notion where designers are always the victim for their lack of communicational skills.

"Empathy it is! Time to get my hands dirty." The idea of a design project came alive to live when I wanted to get better at communicating with designers.

I knew humour and connecting the dots are my strengths, and I also knew I wasn't good at design because of the lack of practice and training. Essentially, the goal of this project isn't to draw like Vincent van Gogh, rather than practice how to translate thoughts and desires into effective call-to-action.

How tough was that?

Milk turned bad

In retrospect, the 2-month pet project was no piece of cake, even as simple as putting a few "punny" pattern on T-shirts. "Talking is easy" was the only thing that kept ringing in my mind.

Design skills (Resource limitation)

Drawing tools in Photoshop and InDesign were like death metal, all I'm getting from them were devilish screams and incurable headaches.

Other than the doodles that I draw whenever I'm pondering on new ideas, the only time where I would ever draw is money from the ATM. (Bazinga)

Idea construction (External limitation)

Not all puns are created equally.

Some puns are way harder to visualize, especially those plays around intangibles, abstract concepts, or puns with lengthy setup. For examples,

  • "I have a few jokes about unemployed people, but none of them work"
  • "Will glass coffins be a success? Remains to be seen"
  • "Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak"

It's impossible to directly translate the word "sophistication", let alone with turning it into illustrations.

How in the make?

Go ham

The structure of the puns are one of the two determining factors of this project, I started the project by compiling a list of puns that are relatable and easy to visualise.

To counter my design skill cap, I chose pixel art to be the illustration style. The reason is that pixel arts have a higher tolerance on the level of details the illustration can ignore, where the presentation relies on the imaginations of the audience to connect the pixels rather than the strokes of the illustrators.

For as simple as the 8-bit pixel art style illustration, all you have to do is fill in different colours within a predefined grid, and let loose of your imaginations.

Can you guess what they are?

I'm loosing control

It was a fruitful experience — not only 6 unspeakable designs were being produced, but it also leads me to Brazil where I create and translate contents for UNESCO and Tencent because of how I solve my problems.

However, only a handful of people did find out what those puns were, can't win them all eh.