Pixelated art used for NFTs has always sparked controversy. While pixelated art can be beautiful, some argue that it’s not worth spending money on an asset with extremely low quality. Why are many NFTs pixelated? Let’s investigate!

Pixelated art is prevalent in NFTs because, for some, it represents the origin of NFT with Cryptopunks. For others, pixel art represents a nostalgic feeling indicative of the 1990s. Pixel art is easier to produce for some, making it a better option to make NFTs quickly.

In this article, we’ll look at the popularity of pixel art for NFTs and explore some of the reasons why sellers choose pixelated art for their NFTs.

Why Is Pixel Art So Popular for NFTs?

Many of those who sell NFTs on OpenSea, Rarible, or another NFT marketplace, prefer pixel art to make it easier and faster for them to create their collectibles. Some may produce high-resolution images, but some might like the simplicity of these low-quality images. For many, this is due to a strong connection with the nostalgia that comes from early video games.

Pixel art is so popular because it represents:

  • The origins of NFT creation and extremely valuable, Cryptopunks
  • A nostalgia of old school video games in the 1990s, and
  • It is easy for some to create and produce numerous variations of pixel art

Pixel art is often used in digital games, which are popular with the younger generations, but it is often seen in print forms too because of this nostalgia. These images represent old-school video games from the 1990s and early 2000s, including “Space Invaders” and “Pacman.”

Pixel art is also an easy way to create unique and different character images of NFTs. For example, the Cryptopunks series has pixelated characters that are all unique with different characteristics.

Often, Cryptopunks is the first thing that people think of when they think of NFTs. They have even been plastered throughout Time Square in New York and used as marketing for NFTs in general. Plus, fans love to add Punks to their social media profiles.

While pixel art can be intricate, it can also be much less time-consuming than creating traditional art, as the pixel blocks are simply stacked from different colored squares from a character sprite.

This leads us to the following reason why NFTs often look pixelated – they’re low-quality images that need to fit within a certain size limit.

By reducing the number of colors used in an image, it can be reduced in file size and also made more efficient for use with blockchain technology. If you are curious about file size limits for NFTs, then check out this article which shows the requirements for the major NFT marketplaces:

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the reasons why so many NFTs are pixelated.

Pixel Art NFT
A selection of CryptoPunks

Pixel Art Represents the Beginning of NFT

The idea for CryptoPunks was created by the two-person team at LarvaLabs. It came to them while they were thinking back on their own childhoods. It was created as an experiment in token creation, with each portrait made up of 10,000 algorithmically generated pixel pictures.

Cryptopunks was the first NFT concept that received a lot of attention, and it brought pixel art to the forefront. Cryptopunks were quite common NFTs that have been extremely successful. They are generally valued at $350,000 to $500,000 each, although some have been known to sell for millions.

Because of this success, there is an idea that replicating the pixel art success that Cryptopunks had is the surest way to success in the NFT space, and this has steered many people away from traditional digital art.

If you want to create a collection of 10,000 NFTs, you might want to read this article, “How Much Does It Cost to Mint 10,000 NFTs?” because it’s not going to be cheap if you decide to mint them on the Ethereum blockchain.

Pixel Art Is Easy to Make and Mass Produce With Minimal Changes

Pixel art is easy to make and mass-produce without having to worry about making significant changes and differentiating them from one another. Pixel art can be created with programs like:

You can create a vast collection of pixelated NFTs by changing colors and attributes like:

  • Skin Tone
  • Eye color
  • Hair color
  • Fur color (if applicable)
  • Add a few clever accesories

Just like Cryptopunks, you can create multiple NFTs by taking one template and changing the skin tone. It’s also super quick to make pixel art in general, allowing room for experimenting with different ideas before deciding on a final version.

This article lists seven other ways to autogenerate an NFT collection.

Like Cryptopunks, a collection of 10,000 punks, you can create a limited collection to add an interesting twist. The scarcity will create an increased demand that means prices may increase quickly.

Making pixel art can be done in just a few minutes, allowing flexibility when designing new NFTs. With this freedom, it is easy to create large numbers of pixel art without too much effort.

The process of minting them and selling them on an NFT marketplace is equally as easy, which helps the demand if you are able to create a community and audience around your creations…but if you aren’t able to market your creations properly, it can turn into a costly experience.

Essentially, the pixelated look is an inexpensive way to produce NFTs that can appeal to a large audience without high costs.  


Pixel Art Is Nostalgic For Some

There is a lot of nostalgia attached to pixel art, and it was extremely popular in the early days of video games due to its small file sizes and efficient use of space. However, pixel art is still being used today to create small but detailed images.

On top of that, many forms of pixel art may be considered retro art if they were created with older software such as MS Paint, which means that creators can add nostalgia into their works when designing them in a modern way with up-to-date technology and techniques.

For many who sell NFTs in Pixel art, there is a strong connection between these images and their personal experiences in video games when they were children or teenagers growing up playing PlayStation or Nintendo.

Pixel art can convey the feeling that they had of excitement and wonder when playing these games for the first time.

Any images uploaded must be either public domain or Creative Commons-licensed, so people will not infringe on someone else’s copyright by using an already sold image. Despite the nostalgic characters used, all of the artwork must be original.

In the world of NFTs, there are still artists today who strive for pixelated perfection when designing their characters. A d even though people tell them that “pixel art is dead,” they still seem eager to prove everyone wrong. 


Pixel art has become increasingly popular with NFTs because of its nostalgic factor. The pixelated characters can remind collectors of their childhoods, giving them a sense of nostalgia and therefore increasing the value of the image.

Recently pixel art has made a comeback and is now popular in mainstream culture through internet memes, video games that are releasing older editions to bring in players who may not have played before, and other mediums. The popularity is only expected to grow as more people take up an interest in NFT collecting.

If you’re ready to rock and roll in the NFT game, you have to check out these popular articles:

  1. How to Create NFT Art Using a Mobile App (6 Easy Steps)
  2. 9 Things to Do With NFTs After Buying Them
  3. Why Are Some NFTs Free on OpenSea?




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