glitch art

Everything about glitch art

Glitch design trends are imaginative, experimental and ‘out there’.  Some glitch website design trends emerge quickly while others have been evolving over time.  Why waste time though?  Let’s explore the 2019 design trends which are sure to take the graphic design world by storm.

No trends list would be complete without some form of retro design making its comeback. In the case of glitch art, it’s retro gone wrong. Those moments when crinkled film or a slow dial-up connection led to a distorted, if unintentionally striking, image.

There is no doubt that retro is being repeated and the trends list cannot be completed without adding retro designs. Glitz art is similar to the retro designs but this specific design is specifically made for the modern world. It can be termed as the good breakdown of the modern technology with that of retro designs.

Glitches are significant in our modern times when computers are so pervasive. We fear the machines taking over, but we also don’t know what we’d do without them. Hence, the breakdown of technology makes for appealing subject matter both as an idea and in its design execution. Where it can draw the viewer’s eye to those parts of the site that are warped, double exposed and glitchy. It’s a strange, futuristic time we live in, and no one is quite sure where it is all heading. Glitch art amplifies this feeling of disorientation by giving websites a distinctly psychedelic look.

Images with a ‘glitch’

Glitch art is a trend for 2019

In the past, top designs included a perfect image.  A new trend in great graphic design, however, is to include a glitch in the overall image.  What was once seen as a fault which would leave a spectator uncomfortable is now seen valuable.

This should perhaps be one of the least surprising element of 2019 design.  Horror movies have been using the glitch effect for a long time.  2019 graphics now carry on this glitch tradition.

Glitch art is one trend that will truly stand out in 2019. Its nostalgic, edgy vibe makes it a perfect candidate for use in short headlines, motion graphics, and even logos. Glitch art creates a sense of movement, can be used to heighten tension, add a sense of urgency, and create contrast. While the glitch effect can be applied to anything digital (photos, videos, and motion graphics) we’ll see it most commonly with type, like the example below.

This trend is going to make us go back to the past. And remember times when slow dial-up connection resulted in distorted picture or double exposure. Computers are really significant for all of us to live, work and create in 2019. So this trend is going to depict something we all are somehow afraid of. Glitches that associate with breakdown of computers and overall technology.

Glitch art is a trend for 2019

Glitch art design trend fully embraces the saying, “the future is now”. Think glitchy, holographic effects reminiscent of your favorite Sci-Fi.

Glitch art is a trend for 2019

You can easily achieve this look in BeFunky’s Photo Editor by navigating to Effects. And choosing options such as Line Artopia, Holga Art or Viewfinder. Add additional glitch-like effects by experimenting with the wide range of Textures available.

Start writing or type / to choose a block

Glitch art design: an inside look at the history and best uses of a modern trend

Velcro, popsicles and fermentation all have something in common: they’re products of happy accidents. The same goes for glitch art: an unintentional distortion made by a digital crash. Has led to an entire, mind-bending sub-genre of graphic design.

Glitch art is a great opportunity for brands. Not only is the form visually stunning. The inherent provocative nature of glitch art creates a memorable image behind a product. Although this DIY-focused, haphazard-looking art form seems to operate without guidelines. It’s important to understand where it all came from and ways to begin if you’re new to working with glitches.

glitch art

What is glitch art?

Glitch art is a visual style characterized by using digital or analog errors for aesthetic purposes. Whether that be intentional (that is, “faking glitch” and obtaining a similar aesthetic through design). Or by accident (a true manifestation inside of the system without human intervention).

Glitch art

These beautiful happy accidents have proven that electronic technologies are still open mediums for expression and creativity and have consequently created another avenue for designers to reimagine products, logos, typography and much more.

Terrence Morash, creative director of Shutterstock explains: “There’s a controlled imperfection to [glitch art], and it’s a reminder of the technical elements of design. It visualizes technology as having a combination of textures and patterns but without perfection.”

There’s a controlled imperfection to [glitch art], and it’s a reminder of the technical elements of design. It visualizes technology as having a combination of textures and patterns but without perfection.
– Terrence Morash, creative director of Shutterstock

The history of glitch art

The term “glitch” itself originates with engineers and astronauts to explain faults within the technology they were working with. Spaceship and rocket hardware. But the visual aesthetic can be traced much further back. To the beginning of the 20th century through distorted forms in cubist paintings. Abstract short films and pixel-like rug designs akin to 8-bit video game landscapes.

Glitch art history

Many antique rugs feature abstract, distorted patterns that seem to predict the glitch movement of later centuries. Via Paradise Oriental Rugs

Fast forward to the modern day, where we often see this distorted imagery in pop culture. As a collective acknowledgment of how technology has involved itself in our everyday lives and how easily destructible it is.

Rosa Menkmen, author of The Glitch Moment(um), explains the duality of glitch art in pop culture. “On the one hand, there are the tactical and critical artists who use the technique to criticize popular culture. And on the other hand the technique now is very much alive and part of this same culture.”

On the one hand, there are the tactical and critical artists who use the technique to criticize popular culture. And on the other hand the technique now is very much alive and part of this same culture.
– Rosa Menkmen, The Glitch Moment(um)

Glitch art makes a comeback

Glitch art as a movement could be compared to that of punk music. Its revival was also challenging media that previously seemed out of reach for many: glossy, flawless, unrealistic.

Fast forward to the modern day, where we often see this distorted imagery in pop culture as a collective acknowledgment. Of how technology has involved itself in our everyday lives and how easily destructible it is.

Rosa Menkmen, author of The Glitch Moment(um), explains the duality of glitch art in pop culture. “On the one hand, there are the tactical and critical artists who use the technique to criticize popular culture. And on the other hand the technique now is very much alive and part of this same culture.”

On the one hand, there are the tactical and critical artists who use the technique to criticize popular culture. And on the other hand the technique now is very much alive and part of this same culture.
– Rosa Menkmen, The Glitch Moment(um)

Glitch art is a trend for 2019

But glitch art has become much more than a movement to celebrate imperfections and comment on contemporary culture.

It has permeated even through mainstream media—an interesting progression considering that it has often emerged in opposition to pop culture and trends.

But the popularity of glitch art does convey a widespread acknowledgement of system failures and our own vulnerable and often fragile relationship with technology.

The design world has now fully embraced this technocentric aesthetic, with many publications predicting that glitch art will continue to show up in more and more unconventional ways in the upcoming years.

How brands can use glitch art

Because of its distortion, glitch art is mysterious by nature, and brands can take advantage of this to create a fascination in their look. There is also a timelessness that comes with the paradoxical balance of being both futuristic and retro. But more important than the aesthetic points glitch art can garner, brands will have to consider whether the rebellious, provocative values associated with glitch art are right for their audience.


Glitch art designs run from cyberpunk to subtle. By Sava Stoic

This tech-driven, rebellious and largely political kind of art has the ability to reach an audience. That connects deeply with resistance and movement against the grain. Examples can range from Pokemon glitch zines. That illustrate nostalgia through a warped lens to tech companies focused on innovation and transparency. Whose products promise to revolutionize the way we do things.

Glitch art does not always have to be full of bold distortions. And its subtler incarnations can be useful when you want to capture the vibe of the glitch movement without committing to a visual style that might be too avant-garde for practical branding.

Glitch art design techniques

Glitch art design techniques

There are specific technical effects we often see with glitches,. And you will want to replicate these techniques in order to create a convincing glitch art design.

At the end of the day, whether the glitch is intentional or not, “broken” images come from broken data. And this error is what you’re trying to communicate through artificial means.

With that said, let’s walk through the most common styles of glitch art design.


Computer images are made up of pixels, and when several of those pixels misfire, you end up with a glitch. The effect of pixelation is most productive when attempting to anonymize an aspect of your design. Leaving the exterior and abstract views of the space within.

Pixelation glitch
Pixelation glitch

Light leaks

By simulating the phenomenon where a gap in the body of a film camera allows light to leak into the normally light-proof film chamber (thus exposing the film with extra light). Designers can create a burnout effect in their design. This brings a dynamic feature to a design if you are creating points of interest through shadows or reflections.

Double exposure

By layering multiple images on top of each other, designers can execute an ethereal, ghost-in-the-machine effect. Choose combinations and placement accordingly. And it’s important to be aware of use of color within this application so as not to overwhelm the subjects of the image.

Noise and grain glitch

Designers can increase grainy artifacts, or noise, to recreate the appearance of an old film or an analog broadcast. One of the most familiar examples of this glitch is the grainy strip that appears on old VHS videos.

Color degradation

Liquified and blurred use of chromatic color communicates a system failure. Because color on its own is so visually demanding, pay attention to the other elements of your design. To make sure the final result isn’t too loud or busy to convey what you are trying to achieve.


As with color usage, blurred and unpredictable textures. As well as asymmetrical geometries give off that feeling that a piece of tech was lost in translation, an aesthetic flaw. These can work great as background images or as entrancing abstract pieces at the foreground of a design.

Glitch lettering

Choose typefaces that communicate malfunction—think corrupted VHS. Uppercase letters with jagged or wavy lines and fuzzy effects around the lettering can also symbolize movement.

Alternatively, you can distort your own lettering by splicing it, duplicating the letters to create a double exposed result. Adding a soft neon shadow, elongating or merging the letterforms.

Crash your design the right way with glitch art

While glitch art may seem like some flashy modern trend, it isn’t going away any time soon. Because the more technology advances, the more opportunities there will be for that technology to break down. And for designers to reinterpret these flaws visually.

Perhaps one of the most alluring aspects of this art form is its highly experimental nature. Eeven though it creates a challenging task for its maker. The process of making great glitch might seem daunting, but the rewards of aesthetic innovation are well worth the effort. As glitch art and technology progresses. New territories into the unknown will always be presenting themselves in this ever-expanding arena of design.

Glitch, Misprint, Visual Interference Effects

This is a double-taker. It catches the eye in a sea of “perfect images” because it’s all about imperfection. It’s based on the unexpected result of digital errors known as “glitches”. Everything around us—advertising, posters, magazine covers, and TV promos—has been Photoshopped to perfection. Some would even call it “fakery” or “visual pollution”. Thereby driving a desire to see more real, organic, less-than-perfect images.

Often more appealing to younger generations, this design trend is a subversive, counterculture, “anti-fake” movement. Iintended to make designs stand out. As mentioned above, it may not be appropriate for some situations or brands. So designers are advised to tread carefully if choosing to implement this effect.

Most designers would use the term “glitch,” but sometimes it’s called a VHS effect, RGB shift with scan lines, misprint or visual interference. Innovative designers sometimes combine several types of these vogueish effects into something new.

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Mr. Robot posters used variations of the glitch effect to stand out and reinforce the counter-culture sensibility of the show.
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The misprint/color shift design trend and a combination of the color-shift and glitch effect
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Video scan lines and image-shift are also used to create unusual, eye-catching graphics.

Everyone has their own method of creating this effect, so look around YouTube and pick one that you like. There are even Photoshop Actions designers can buy to create the glitch effect with just a few clicks. Here are a couple of top Photoshop tutorials on how to achieve this design trend:

Glitch Effect Photoshop Tutorial #1:

Glitch Effect Photoshop Tutorial #2:

There are even ways to achieve a cool glitch effect with only CSS as this slideshow demo and this landing page demo show.

Retro Glitch Text Tutorial | Photoshop CC

More About glitch art

Glitch art is the practice of using digital or analog errors for aesthetic purposes by either corrupting digital data or physically manipulating electronic devices. Glitches appear in visual art such as the film A Colour Box (1935) by Len Lye, the video sculpture TV Magnet (1965) by Nam June Paik and more contemporary work such as Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma Screen Burn (2007) by Cory Arcangel.

History of the term

In a technical sense, a glitch is the unexpected result of a malfunction, especially occurring in software, video games, images, videos, audio, and other digital artefacts. Early examples of glitches used in media art include Digital TV Dinner (1978) created by Jamie Fenton and Raul Zaritsky, with glitch audio done by Dick Ainsworth. This video was made by manipulating the Bally video game console and recording the results on videotape.[2]

The term glitch came to be associated with music in the mid 90s to describe a genre of experimental/noise/electronica (see glitch music). Shortly after, as VJs and other visual artist began to embrace the glitch as an aesthetic of the digital age, glitch art came to refer to a whole assembly of visual arts.

In January 2002, Motherboard, a tech-art collective, held a glitch symposium in Oslo, Norway, to “bring together international artists, academics and other Glitch practitioners for a short space of time to share their work and ideas with the public and with each other.”

Start writing or type / to choose a block

On September 29 thru October 3, 2010, Chicago played host to the first GLI.TC/H, a five-day conference in Chicago organized by Nick Briz, Evan Meaney, Rosa Menkman and Jon Satrom that included workshops, lectures, performances, installations and screenings.[5] In November 2011, the second GLI.TC/H event traveled from Chicago to Amsterdam and lastly to Birmingham, UK. It included workshops, screenings, lectures, performance, panel discussions and a gallery show over the course of seven days at the three cities.


What is called “glitch art” typically means visual glitches, either in a still or moving image. It is made by either “capturing” an image of a glitch as it randomly happens, or more often by artists/designers manipulating their digital files, software or hardware to produce these “errors.” Artists have posted a variety of tutorials online explaining how to make glitch art. There are many approaches to making these glitches happen on demand, ranging from physical changes to the hardware to direct alternations of the digital files themselves. Artist Michael Betancourt identified five areas of manipulation that are used to create “glitchart.” Betancourt notes that “glitch art” is defined by a broad range of technical approaches that can be identified with changes made to the digital file, its generative display, or the technologies used to show it (such as a video screen). He includes within this range changes made to analog technologies such as television (in video art) or the physical film strip in motion pictures:

Data manipulation

Data manipulation (aka databending) changes the information inside the digital file to create glitches. Databending involves editing and changing the file data. There are a variety of tutorials explaining how to make these changes using programs such as HexFiend. Adam Woodall explains in his tutorial

Like all files, image files (.jpg .bmp .gif etc) are all made up of text. Unlike some other files, like .svg (vectors) or .html (web pages), when an image is opened in a text editor all that comes up is gobbldygook!

Related processes such as datamoshing changes the data in a video or picture file. Datamoshing with software such as Avidemux is a common method for creating glitch art by manipulating different frame types in compressed digital video:

“Datamoshing involves the removal of an encoded video’s I-frames (intra-coded picture, also known as key frames—a frame that does not require any information regarding another frame to be decoded), leaving only the P- (predicted picture) or B- (bi-predictive picture) frames. P-frames contain information predicting the changes in the image between the current frame and the previous one, and B-frames contain information predicting the image differences between the previous, current and subsequent frames. Because P- and B-frames use data from previous and forward frames, they are more compressed than I-Frames.”

This process of direct manipulation of the digital data is not restricted to files that only appear on digital screens. “3D model glitching” refers to the purposeful corruption of the code in 3D animation programs resulting in distorted and abstract images of 3D virtual worldsmodels and even 3D printed objects


Misalignment glitches are produced by opening a digital file of one type with a program designed for a different type of file, such as opening a video file as a sound file, or using the wrong codec to decompress a file. Tools commonly used to create glitches of this type include Audacity and WordPad. Artist Jamie Boulton explains the process and the glitches it produces, noting that these glitches depend on how Audacity handles files, even when they are not audio-encoded:

The easiest way to manipulate a file in Audacity is to select a section of the file and apply one of the built in sound effects to it. Now I’m no computing whizz kid but the way I see it when you apply a sound effect to a sound file, the program takes that file and alters the file data in the manner which it’s been told will achieve that effect. So, for example, if you were to apply an echo effect then it would repeat parts of the file, diminishing the repetition after each iteration. The wonderful thing is that it will do this regardless of what the file actually is. Audacity doesn’t know or care whether the file is a sound or not, it will alter it in the manner instructed.

Hardware failure

Hardware failure happens by altering the physical wiring or other internal connections of the machine itself, such as a short-circuit, in a process called “circuit bending” causes the machine to create glitches that produce new sounds and visuals. For example, by damaging internal pieces of something like a VHS player, one can achieve different colorful visual images. Video artist Tom DeFanti explained the role of hardware failure in a voice-over for Jamie Fenton’s early glitch video Digital TV Dinner that used the Bally video game console system:

This piece represents the absolute cheapest one can go in home computer art. This involves taking a $300 video game system, pounding it with your fist so the cartridge pops out while its trying to write the menu. The music here is done by Dick Ainsworth using the same system, but pounding it with your fingers instead of your fist.

Physically beating the case of the game system would cause the game cartridge to pop out, interrupting the computer’s operation. The glitches that resulted from this failure were a result of how the machine was set-up:

There was ROM memory in the cartridge and ROM memory built into the console. Popping out the cartridge while executing code in the console ROM created garbage references in the stack frames and invalid pointers, which caused the strange patterns to be drawn. […] The Bally Astrocade was unique among cartridge games in that it was designed to allow users to change game cartridges with power-on. When pressing the reset button, it was possible to remove the cartridge from the system and induce various memory dump pattern sequences. Digital TV Dinner is a collection of these curious states of silicon epilepsy set to music composed and generated upon this same platform.


Misregistration is produced by the physical noise of historically analog media such as motion picture film. It includes dirt, scratches, smudges and markings that can distort physical media also impact the playback of digital recordings on media such as CDs and DVDs, as electronic music composer Kim Cascone explained in 2002:

“There are many types of digital audio ‘failure.’ Sometimes, it results in horrible noise, while other times it can produce wondrous tapestries of sound. (To more adventurous ears, these are quite often the same.) When the German sound experimenters known as Oval started creating music in the early 1990s by painting small images on the underside of CDs to make them skip, they were using an aspect of ‘failure’ in their work that revealed a subtextual layer embedded in the compact disc.

Oval’s investigation of ‘failure’ is not new. Much work had previously been done in this area such as the optical soundtrack work of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Fischinger, as well as the vinyl record manipulations of John Cage and Christian Marclay, to name a few. What is new is that ideas now travel at the speed of light and can spawn entire musical genres in a relatively short period of time.”


Distortion was one of the earliest types of glitch art to be produced, such as in the work of video artist Nam June Paik, who created video distortions by placing powerful magnets in close proximity to the television screen, resulting in the appearance of abstract patterns. Paik’s addition of physical interference to a TV set created new kinds of imagery that changed how the broadcast image was displayed:

The magnetic field interferes with the television’s electronic signals, distorting the broadcast image into an abstract form that changes when the magnet is moved.Paragraph

By recording the resulting distortions with a camera, they can then be shown without the need for the magnet.

Learn how to create psychadelic glitch text in Photoshop!

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