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Acorn - A World In Pixels cover art

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Fri, 08 Jan 2021

Ste Pickford

In early 2020 I was asked to design a cover for a new book, Acorn - A World In Pixels, by the publisher IDesine. The book would be a kind of encyclopaedia and celebration of all the games released on Acorn's BBC Micro and Electron home computers.

I knew it would be a great project to work on, the only problem was I never owned or had access to a BBC Micro or an Electron, so didn't know any of the games. Well, that's not strictly true - I'd played Elite (perhaps the most important BBC game ever) when it was converted to the ZX Spectrum, and all the great Ultimate games were converted from the Spectrum to the BBC (many by Kevin Edwards, who I worked with during the SNES days at Software Creations), but I'd never played any of the BBC exclusives. I remember seeing screenshots of Frak as a kid, being amazed at the quality of the graphics, and knew that Acornsoft had a reputation for top quality games, even if many of their arcade 'conversions' weren't exactly official.

The BBC Micro was always out of reach when I was a kid. It had a reputation as the rich kid's micro, as it cost several hundred pounds, as opposed to the £120 or so of the Spectrum, or £200 (I think?) that the C64 and Amstrad CPC cost.

With the help of the author I jumped into researching the many cool and interesting games on the machines, and came up with this design, incorporating as many distinctive characters or hardware from the most popular games, around a voxel representation of the Acorn logo.

The brief was to avoid the use of any trademarks, while capturing the feel of games that people would remember.

The book launched in late 2020, overcoming some tremendous logistical hurdles caused by covid-19 and Brexit, and has been a great success.

The cover art I designed had the background changed by the publisher to a starfield for the book itself. My original background is a sort of spray of colours, representing the limited palette of the machine.

At the request of some of the buyers of the book, I've made a small number of A3 prints available of my original cover art. Follow the link to buy one.


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