Social Media

February 26th, 2012 § 0 comments

I just happened to stumble across the subject for this weeks post. I was in a conference room on campus, waiting for everyone to get there for the meeting and sitting on the table was a copy of MIT’s Technology Review. At first I didn’t think too much of it—a can of coke on the cover, ok. But then I looked closer and realized the coke can was made up of type! Intricately curved and shaded type. Flipping through the magazine I realized it was for the article “A Social-Media Decoder” and the type were all tweets about Coca Cola.

Technology Review November 2011 Cover

I also discovered who the illustrator was. His name is Dylan Roscover and he is a recent graduate of Full Sail University where he studied motion graphics. Visiting his website and clicking through his portfolio I realized he has done several of the same type illustrations, but with portraits. There is a cool one of Steve Jobs using all of the typefaces that Apple has used in their marketing, and a very striking one of President Obama commissioned by Time Magazine.

I believe the Coca Cola graphic is set in Myriad, a humanist sans-serif designed by Robert Slimbach and Carol Twombly for Adobe. Apple has been a major user of the typeface as it has adorned all of the companies corporate collateral since 2002. The typeface itself is very similar to Frutiger.

Close up of Coca-Cola illustration via

Of note is the lock-up of all of the letters. It is like one giant puzzle piece the way all of the letters and forms fit together without overlapping. The organization is very neat and organized. Dylan states that for the Obama piece it took him 20 hours to set all of the copy, I can only imagine how long it took him to set all of the tweets to this soda can. The colors are striking—the signature bright red of coke set on a black background. The variations of grey created by the density and size of the letters—the shading created by the absence of letterforms. A truly amazing piece of work.

Close-up of Coca-Cola illustration

After staring at this piece for some time, reading the tweets and analyzing how the letters all fit together, I wondered how this piece would look if the type had all been hand-rendered rather than set with computer type. I think hand-drawn type would have looked more organic, but what I think works in this case is that the illustration is referencing a digital medium—tweets. And while tweets are composed by humans, they are typed on a device. The computer-ish look of the illustration is sleek and clean. No subtle mistakes or variations that can occur when drawn by a hand.

It just goes to show you that one does not need to rely on stippling or crosshatching to create a realistic illustration—it can be done with type—pure type.


Technology Review

Dylan Roscover

Myriad Typeface

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