eCity by eBoy

Twenty-First Century icons: here's another holiday serialisation from dezeen editor Marcus Fairs' book, Twenty-First Century Design.

Date 2004
Designers Steffen Saurteig, Svend Smital, Kai Vermehr and Peter Stemmler/eBoy

Founded in Berlin in 1998 by Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and Kai Vermehr, eBoy were later joined by New York-based Peter Stemmler. They now have offices in both cities, with the three Germans creating the pixel work and Stemmler working on a parallel series of vector graphics.

This four-strong collective is the best-known exponent of the “pixel" style of illustration, which uses the basic digital unit as a building block for highly complex axonometric scenes that are reminiscent of computer games such as the Sims or Lego constructions.


They draw much of their inspiration from images sourced in magazines and on Google, creating a database of toy-like individual elements, such as vehicles, buildings and advertising hoardings, all drawn in axonometric. They use these to build up their multi-layered compositions, which they create using PhotoShop image manipulation software.

They have worked for a huge range of clients, providing illustrations for magazines such as Wired and Creative Review and producing imagery for Coca Cola, Nike and Kellogg’s. They have also staged numerous exhibitions.

In 2004, eBoy were commissioned by British fashion designer Paul Smith to create an addition to their eCity series based on London, which Smith used as a fabric print on elements of his collection such as bags, T-shirts and shoe linings. This series recreates fantastical, cartoon versions of real cities such as Venice, Miami and Berlin.

They are brought to life with dramatic, but unrelated, scenes plucked from comics and action movies – police officers engage robbers in shoot-outs, while giant monsters rampage through streets and alien spacecraft destroy buildings.


The four members of eBoy – who look remarkably similar with their cropped blond hair – are often to be found somewhere in their cityscapes, relaxing on rooftops or dancing in the street, and there are usually also a few nudes concealed among the mayhem.


Taken from Twenty-First Century Design by Marcus Fairs, published by Carlton Books


Buy this book at the Dezeenbooks store
(in association with