Earlier this month, John Stauffer from Ogilvy PR sat down with Yiying Lu, the illustrator who designed the infamous Twitter Fail Whale graphic.
The Creation Of The Twitter Fail Whale
Although we all know the image as the “Fail Whale,” her original title for the illustration is ‘Lifting a Dreamer.’ Yiying uploaded her design to iStockphoto and never gave it a second thought… until the Twitter team found it. Although she’s received quite a bit of fame from the design, she isn’t getting rich from it. Twitter only pays a membership fee for iStockphoto and not a per view or use fee to designers.
How And Why The Twitter Fail Whale Graphic Gets Used
As Twitter struggled to scale its infrastructure and meet its rapid user growth, the site suffered frequent errors and chose to visually communicate those errors using Yiying’s ‘Dreamer’ image. Within weeks the Fail Whale had achieved cult-like status and the rest is history.
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