Turning tweets into digital snowflakes

Like most companies, ico needed a Christmas message to send to customers, clients and suppliers. Our task was to create one that was more memorable.

We looked at how Christmas messages were sent and specifically how people were using Twitter to send generic greetings using a common hashtag. Even though a message might be generic, the username, date and timestamp means that every single one is unique. Just like a snowflake.

That was our starting point, we then set out to capture this most throwaway of communication forms and create something beautiful and lasting. First developing a website that automatically turned all of the tweets with the hashtag 'xmas' into typographic snowflakes, displaying them as falling digital snow.

Individual tweetflakes were digitally printed as physical Christmas cards to send to friends and clients, and the next logical step was to create a more permanent physical document of these global digital messages. To do this we captured every single tweet with the hashtag 'xmas' on Christmas day (6651 in total) we then used processing to generate the Tweetflakes and also to layout all 377 pages of a perfect bound hardback book.

The results

Millions of tweets turned into tweetflakes

Millions of tweets turned into tweetflakes

Over six thousand tweets pulled into a physical publication

Over six thousand tweets pulled into a physical publication

One copy of the book in the V&A permanent collection

One copy of the book in the V&A permanent collection