by Tim Van Damme

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Heart of Pixels

Heart of Pixels

Early November I got an email from Jay Fanelli that made my heart skip a beat. For those of you who don’t know Jay, he’s one of the guys behind the amazing shirts-for-nerds site United Pixelworkers, which has a history of working with some of the brightest designers and illustrators of our generation. He asked whether I’d be interested in designing a shirt for them, and with sweaty palms I emailed him back saying it’d be an honor.

The only design direction he gave me was “We want this design to look like it came from you.” So of course I went off and told him I’d like to explore a direction that was completely un-me: Typography.

After some thinking I made a list of everything (interface/web) design is: Balance, rhythm, iteration, considerate, humble, honest, opinionated, patient, respectful… and (most important), design comes from the heart.

After a number of failed attempts translating this typographic concept into an actual design, I let it sit for a couple of days.

When revisiting the idea a couple of days later, the last item on that list really stuck with me. Design comes from the heart. The best designers I know love what they do. More specifically, I love pixels. The seed was planted, and after thinking about it some more I decided to completely change the design direction to something really simple: A pixellated representation of a human heart.


Some Google Image-searching later I found my reference materials and went to work. I ended up with 4 different options they could pick from (I tried using as little different colors as possible), and now it’s something you can actually buy.


You can pre-order the shirt until Monday, January 14 at 2:00 PM EST. And while you’re there, take a look around their shop, they sell some really cool stuff.