What would call the style used in the Space Needle themed lock screen in Windows 8, and how would you reproduce that style?

I'm in the early stages of learning Windows 8 and preparing to roll it out at the small college where I work. One thing I noticed early is the new Space Needle themed lock screen. Sure, there are other lock screen options, but I have a feeling this screen will be iconic in the same way as the old Windows XP Bliss wallpaper.

What I'd like to do is make an adaption of this image that fits our own locale, but will still be immediately recognizable. I'll start from scratch to avoid copyright issues, but the left half of the new image should look very similar. I'll skip the mountains and use a corn field instead of the water, and I want to replace the Space Needle with a depiction of one of the more recognizable campus buildings. But for this work, it needs to have the same visual style as the original.

Any suggestions?

FWIW, here is the result of my efforts. No corn field and it's lacking some level of detail from the original, but I think it will do the job. My main complaint is that the wrong side of the building is shaded... the side towards the sun is darker.

Wallpaper with wrong shading

Wallpaper with better shading

  • Looks like a vector drawing on a mountainscape picture. Mar 13, 2013 at 14:17
  • 1
    I'd call it 'bad collage'.
    – DA01
    Mar 13, 2013 at 17:05
  • Interesting to come back to this, and see how that image never caught on. Maybe if Windows 8 had been more popular. Instead, we ended up with this: gmunk.com/Windows-10-Desktop Apr 14, 2020 at 17:10
  • Also, I'm here because this earned a views badge today, and so it shows up in my notifications. Even though I'll never use it, I took the time to fix the shading, and wanted to include that image. Apr 14, 2020 at 17:26
  • Maybe it's time to finally fix that second link in your text too.
    – Jongware
    Apr 14, 2020 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


This style is often referred to by the name of vexel.

It is a mixture of pixel and vector artworks. The easiest way to start something like this is probably to vectorize scenery from photos of the area you want to show in Illustrator and then blend it together with photos in Photoshop.


This could also be a take on flat design. You could start by vectorizing an image you already have (like Afterlame said) in Illustrator. Add colors and now you have a flat design wallpaper. To make it the style you're looking for, try adding gradients to the objects. I haven't tried it, but I hope it works for you.

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