Spot the Landmarks in These Low Poly South African Cityscapes

Duncan Bell and Reynard Nel


Duncan Bell, a graphic designer and video game artist at Hellocomputer, was tasked with creating a South African cityscape series as part of a campaign that the agency contributed to that commemorates Lunch Bar’s Golden 50th Anniversary. The illustrations were finished off by Reynard Nel – whose work has been featured on Between 10 and 5 before – who added the miniature people and fun extra details.


The campaign is linked to a radio station promotion on the Roger Good Show on 5FM and the Great Escape show on MetroFM. Listeners stand a chance of winning a daily cash prize by answering questions that relate to South Africa. The cityscapes support the answers to each question with visual clues.


Duncan has always been fascinated with how low-poly graphics deconstruct objects to their simplest form, yet manage to maintain atmosphere and tone. He has been illustrating 3D models for video games from a young age, which used to be technically more limiting in terms of retaining detail. After a while, he stopped, and focused on pursuing his graphic design career. His interest in low poly graphics returned when he was introduced to Cinema4D last year, and the knowledge he has built up over the years came rushing back.


The cityscape series is visually quite seductive with its muted colour palette and crisp lines. Only the essential elements of each city are outlined from a bird’s-eye perspective. Energetic figures occupy the landscapes through performing various actions. It has a clean and playful feel to it due to the low-poly style it is created in. Duncan’s main influence for the design is the work of Timothy Reynold and Michiel van den Berg, enticed by the great tone in their renders.


In terms of process, the agency had four weeks allocated to illustrate the entire project. The first week was spent in front of the drawing board, sketching the isometric cityscapes by hand. Soon realising that was too labour intensive and time consuming, they moved over to 3D. Attention was first paid to the colour palette, highlighting the unique features that gave each city its distinct identity. Every single detail was created from scratch.


See the campaign in action at


Duncan Bell - PretoriaDuncan Bell and Reynard Nel11043058_726713327441181_9155749745521843294_n 10368233_731837243595456_5568892274214422638_n


Duncan Bell - Cape Town11021432_726240390821808_6380020444539763756_o11081155_731839240261923_7601440362026641384_n

Cape Town

Duncan Bell - Karoo11070002_726240744155106_5146354527905355336_o10981999_730355370410310_5840134920787170442_n


Duncan Bell - Durban10854301_727998190646028_6827727390831173393_o10420115_727999923979188_6731914828843047485_n


Duncan Bell - Johannesburg1898345_726238800821967_900358873726496442_o10348277_726710647441449_3244920790655329532_n 10457560_729013893877791_7623547259664442065_n



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