Sometimes I get carried away while surfing the Web. There’s something very hypnotic in the way that Web works – one click might take you to a whole new world, another click – and you discovered a hidden treasure that gets you excited like a kid looking at the sun through that magical colourful glass.

That’s how I feel now after my encounter with this website: Spell With Flickr, created by Erik Kastner, using PHP and JavaScript. Try typing a word or a phrase on that site and it will surprise you back with every letter transformed by a photo from Flickr’s collection of “One Letter” – shots of single letters by Flickr users.

Take a look at the masterpiece below, where this blog’s title is magically spelled by Flickr. You can even click on each of the letter images to see the original shot.

I N S P I R A T I
O N
Bjaune i T

Apparently the Spell With Flickr site has been around for a couple of years, but that’s the first time I’ve heard about it. Did you know about that photo spell?

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16 Insightful Bits in response to “Magic Spell”

  1. Good, isn’t it. I came across this about six months ago – and I’ve used it as a basis for two client logo designs so far… :)

  2. It looks great! I did not know about it.

  3. LGR

    I came across the site a while ago. It is a fun. What I want to know is how the letters get chosen. I would just love a peek at the code.

  4. Too cool! Thank you for sharing, Vivien!!

    Paul, I can definitely see this as inspiration for logos. Will you show us the final product?

  5. I can’t do that, because of who the clients were. Sorry.

    However, this post has inspired me to do something similar for my blog reboot – so keep an eye on that! ;)

  6. Aww, oh well. I’ll just wait to see your blog’s new typography.

    BTW, took a look at that flickr group and this was my favorite letter. (hopefully the link works!)

  7. Well I guess your new project should be to compile a version that’s only made out of bugs then… ;)

  8. This was fun. By the way as I read this post at the end I saw the 15 minutes post below. Kind of funny I just spent 15 minutes playing with this flickr spell thingy.

  9. Wow, thanks so much – it still amazes me that my little project is still going strong.

    The idea for spell with flickr was inspired by an app thtat spelled a person’s name using book covers using Amazon’s API.

    The code is VERY ugly, but is available for anyone to take a look at:
    http://metaatem.net/words.phps
    http://metaatem.net/words_inc.phps

    All of the images come from the groups:
    One Letter
    One Digit
    Punctuation

    They are chosen randomly from within the returned images.

  10. Vivien

    Paul, look forward to seeing what you’re coming up with for your blog’s reboot. I think I’ll be also incorporating something like that in my blog’s redesign (once I get to it).

    Lauren and Simonne, I’m glad you liked that site and had fun with the letters.

    Joey, I also spent about 15 minutes playing with that site, then blogged about it and forced myself to finally shut down my laptop and go to bed – it was already 2 am.

    LGR, aren’t you lucky – you got a reply about the code from the creator himself :-)

    Erik, thanks so much for dropping by. When did you create this cool and very creative application?

  11. Oh! That’s very cool indeed. Here’s a similar stunning tool: http://imagemosaicgenerator.click42.com/

  12. I think I made it in early 2005 (february or march). Not long after I got picked up by a few bloggers and then got a ton of traffic. I’m still getting a steady stream of people viewing it every day – thanks to sites like yours!

  13. What a great find. This is great. It’s got me thinking about some other applications for this. And you’re right about the “hypnotic” nature of the Internet. There’s some great content out there (here too, of course).
    Thanks for the find, Vivien.

  14. Vivien

    WoW, Shankar, thanks for that Mosaic link. I’ve always liked that effect on pictures. Many magazine covers were using that mosaic effect for their photos. Very cool.

    Erik, thanks for the answer. I’m checking your blog’s Projects page now. My gosh, looks like you don’t waste a minute of your day – so many projects, blogs, websites. How do you find time for them all?

    You’re welcome, John. My thanks back to you for the compliment :-) Hope you’ll share with us your thoughts for other uses of Spell with Flickr, when you get them all formed and implemented :-) I will do the same in future.

  15. That is truly cool, but it can be abused. Remember the son of sam? He could save a lot of time by using flickr!!! lol. Just kidding. thanks for this info, i will be using it!

  16. What a fun idea, as is the one for mosaics! Now, I’ll be playing all day instead of working…just what I needed lol! Thank you!

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on