Italian designer Silvio Lorusso has hit upon a marvelous new design game that anyone who uses Photoshop can play. A few months ago he started a Tumblr called Content-Aware Typography in which he posted (and solicited from readers) images of iconic typography from famous movie posters, album covers, advertising logos and so forth after having deployed Photoshop’s “Content-Aware Fill” feature on them.
The point of it all is that the content-aware feature was never meant to be used on text—it’s used to fill in the space where the user has removed an object from an image. It does so basically by guessing what might be behind the object based on what is visible near the object and then covering it with visual snatches in a randomized fashion. If you’re talking about a forest or a horizon, it can work rather well. Text works in such a specific way that it reveals the content-aware process for what it is, a game attempt by an otherwise stupid algorithm to trick the eye through sheer repetition.
I like the Content-Aware Typography Tumblr so much because it does such violence to the words and visual elements while leaving the basic idea intact. You can usually guess what was originally there, after all. It also seems somewhat like a virus, as if something malign had gotten into our most recognizable icons and replicated itself without rhyme or reason, with an insatiable bent for visual real estate.
The images here don’t come from Content-Aware Typography; I asked a friend, Mark Davis, to generate a few for me (I don’t know Photoshop) and he did so with alacrity and élan. If you want to see more, by all means visit the original Tumblr.