I am trying to create 8-bit style letters in Illustrator CC 2017 on Windows.

I am working in Pixels.

As you know, anything that is not a straight line, eg. curves or diagonals, would appear jagged with semi-transparent "half Pixels".

Illustrator seems to want to draw everything as smooth lines (as it should) but I am unable to find a way of achieving what I need.

I have tried "Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag" but that does not add the semi-transparent "half Pixels" and it does not look convincing?

I wonder if anyone has any tips or tricks?

Many thanks

  • 1
    The trick in illustrator is that its never working on pixels ;)
    – joojaa
    Jan 22, 2019 at 17:18

3 Answers 3


Illustrator is a vector editing program, so it does not work in pixels, but rather in numbers and math (telling computer to render a path at x°).

When you export your work it will create those "pixels effect" look that you are looking for.

If you want to preview how it will look exported (at that size that you are working in) you can also turn on View → Pixel Preview (Alt+Ctrl+Y)

enter image description here


The normal way to do pixelated artwork would be to work in a pixel based application like Photoshop.

But a way to force pixelation in Illustrator could be:

  1. Select your object/text
  2. Open the Appearance panel.
  3. In the bottom, click the Add New Effect button and select Rasterize....
  4. Try different Resolution settings until you find something you like.


Another option you have is to literally design using squares, some with opacity set to 50%, and end up with an 8-bit style, sheer vector design. If you did this at a significantly larger scale than 1:1, it could allow you some seriously cool extra touches you'd not get at literal 1 to 1 pixel size.

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