Friday, March 11, 2011

Twitter Art

Are you a visual artist with tons of images in your head but only time to develop a few? Maybe try them out on Twitter in the form of Unicode art. Because of the 140 character limit, you can’t waste too much time on each design, and – through replies and retweeting – people will tell you which subjects and compositions are successful.


Below is a set that’s generally considered safe. Its characters are common, of identical width, and will likely appear the same in most platforms and browsers. Simply drag-select and copy/paste it into your favorite text editor.

starter character set:
╒╓ ╕╖╘╙ ╛╜╞╟ ╡╢╤╥ ╧╨ ╪╫

You arrange the characters like puzzle pieces so they form words or images. (Disable page style to see it as it would appear in Twitter.)

For this character set’s art to wrap correctly in Twitter at standard zoom (100%), you’ll want to make each design 22+ characters wide and 6- rows tall.

A line break counts as a character, so it’s actually 23x6=138. In Twitter, a “tweet” message must be 140 characters or fewer.

Important: If you feel like playing with Unicode characters other than those in my "starter character set," first test them in Twitter's "What's happening?" post window in multiple (2 or more) internet browsers. If your art looks messed up in any of those post windows, don't hit the "tweet" button.


This section is for those having trouble viewing tweet designs.

Twitter art always aligns best in Firefox. If you're going to view a lot of it, you might want to temporarily switch browsers.
Chrome has the next best character support and has exceptional text-smoothing.
Internet Explorer is okay if you adjust the font setting (see below).
Safari is the least reliable.

If tweets are wrapping poorly, try zooming in or out (control/command +/-).

Sometimes a tweet design will work better depending on where you view it. If it looks bad in the timeline, try it in the sidebar or direct link.

If the tweet characters appear as a bunch of rectangles, try changing the font. In Internet Explorer for MS Windows (above image), I've found that switching to Lucida Sans Unicode will reveal many missing characters. I'm unable to test on other platforms, so if you find other solutions, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW.

I haven't had much luck with Arial Unicode in most browsers. If you're having the problem depicted in the image above, switch to another font. Again, Lucida Sans Unicode is usually my first choice, as it has the most consistent line width. If you compare the Arial & Lucida images above, the Arial line widths are deviating depending on where the Unicode characters are positioned.

(updated May 9, 2011: modified "ASCII art" misnomer. ASCII only refers to alphanumeric characters [abc,123,;-#].)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. hola!Me gusta mucho lo que haces!para formar palabras o dibujos intento armarla pero cuando le doy tw se desordenan por completo de que manera hay que ubicar los simbolos??o es un programa especial para twitter?

  2. On Windows, there's a program called Character Map. On Mac, it's the Characters palette. And, of course, you can always just copy/paste any characters you like from any web or text document. is an app that has many of the symbols set up.

  3. Claudia, check back in a day or two. I'll append a character set to this post.

  4. Muchas Graciass!!por responder!esperare el post con mucho gusto

  5. Hola!Gregory
    necesito una imagen,para tw que sea un cocinero,o una cara con un gorro de cocinero tienes algo asi??
    desde ya muchas graciass!

  6. You have to build things like chef hats out of a grid of Unicode characters. You can find all the available characters in existing twitter art by me & other illustrators. It might take a few tries to get it right, so just be patient with yourself. Reference drawings or photos always help.

  7. Muchas Gracias!

  8. Thank you for all the invaluable info! Blue

  9. Hi! I updated Firefox on my pc...
    some characters-symbols (for example: ☆ ♢ ◯) move a little composition, with the previous version there was this little problem!

    For display issues on Safari (mac)...
    a friend of mine says that the "engine" is different from the "engine" of Mobile Safari...and for this reason on iPhone TWITTERART is best viewed...

  10. I am search for twitterart ☮ Peace sign, but cannot find, can you help? @tasheva Twitter

  11. Sorry make mistake is @tashaeva twitter