0 Today I Learned...the Origin of the Twitter Fail Whale

Twitter Fail Whale, Yi Ying
Current version of the Twitter Fail Whale designed by YiYing Lu. Image credit: Twitter
Chances are that if you've ever used Twitter, you've crossed paths with the ominous Twitter Fail Whale (an experience typically followed by the yelling of choice expletives, keyboard pounding, mouse throwing, etc.). If you have no idea what a Twitter is or what involvement a whale could possibly have—mom, just skip over this post.

LTL Prints has published an interesting interview with the designer of the Twitter Fail Whale, YiYing Lu, whose name coincidentally translates to Happy ("Yi") and Creative ("Ying"), in Chinese. Here's a little background on the origin of the famous Twitter image, told in YiYing's own words:

"This piece that would eventually become the Twitter ‘Fail Whale’ was originally called ‘Lifting a Dreamer’, and was a personal work – a visual greeting to my friends overseas. [...] ‘Lifting a Dreamer’ originally featured an Elephant, drawn with pencil! I wanted to create a visual greeting – a visual ‘comfort’ for my friends back home for all the events that I was missing! Basically, I had this giant wish that is so heavy (the elephant), and the birds represented my free spirit and good wishes.

original Twitter Fail Whale, Yiying Lu
The original version of the Twitter Fail "Whale" circa 2002. Photo credit: LTL Prints
"After returning to Australia from my exchange study in Central St. Martins London, around early 2007, I created an updated version of my ‘birds lifting an elephant’ image. I created a vector graphic with color and smaller size to send via email. And this time, instead of an elephant, it featured a whale – since I was living in New South *Whales*. I first used it as an eCard for a friend whose party in London I couldn’t attend. Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter, found it online and used it on the page that displays when Twitter was overloaded."

Read the full interview here

Yiying Lu wall decals, LTL Prints
YiYing wall graphics now available for purchase at LTL Prints. Photo credit: LTL Prints
YiYing has also turned her designs into wall graphics that "are self-adhesive and will stick to almost any surface (walls, windows, even ceilings!), and can be removed and re-hung 100 times without leaving a mark or damaging your walls." Buy them here

[via Holy Kaw]

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