Designer Spam

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What’s a person to do with their daily emails filled with promises of cheap Viagra, body part enlargements and drugs that come from dodgy sources? Well if these designers and artists below are anything to go by, we should be making beautiful art and designs with them.

The first time I came across some good-looking spam was on the Flickr set of designer and illustrator Linzie Hunter who had the ingenious idea of taking some of the many spammy emails she received and illustrating them with her unique typography. Her work was such a success that a series of commercial prints was produced.
linzie hunter

Designer Elliot Burford was also influenced by the subject lines of spammy emails and has illustrated a hilarious set of images, also available as t-shirts. They almost make spam seem charming.

elliot burford

A little more technical is the work of Alex Dragulescu, a Romanian visual artist who has created a series of “spam plants.” The ASCII values found in the text of spam messages he has received determine the attributes and qualities of the Spam Plants. You can find lots more of these creations on his web site.

alex dragulescu

Dutch designer Enkeling has taken comments from his own website to create pretty typographic illustrations. Some of the comments are spam and some are kind words he’s received from his site visitors.


And finally, if you’d like to do something with your own spam, other than delete it, you can send it to the Spam Recycling website.

Here’s one I made earlier, featuring an email I received from Bob Gatchel, promising to show me the “easy way to become an internet millionaire (it’s no joke).” When you send your spam to they send you back a link to where you can see your spam art being created and can influence the colors.

What do you think of designer spam? Is it creative waste, or a creative waste of time?

Jennifer FarleyJennifer Farley
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Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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