How many sides are there to a snowflake? The answer may surprise your marketing department

Joe McManis runs the Snowflake Fail blog, which chronicles the various places non-hexagonal snowflakes are found in nature marketing.

Bonus snowflake failage:

Comments (17)
  1. John says:

    Who cares?  It’s MARKETING; those people aren’t even human.  As if Microsoft’s marketing department is any better.  I still get nauseous just thinking about Seinfeld.

    [Don’t make me bring back the nitpicker’s corner. -Raymond]
  2. keith says:

    I laughed out loud the first time I read about a "starflake schema", mostly because what it describes doesn’t need a cutesy descriptor, but also because the intersection of data warehouse professionals and Trekkies is not inconsequential, and "starflake" is not a bad description of this group.  

  3. Gabe says:

    Alas, HP’s home page seems to have reverted to all-black. Perhaps somebody saw the ridiculous snowflakes and decided it’s better to have nothing than fail?

    [Seven-pointed snowflakes (and even some eight-pointed ones) are still there, on the “Power Essentials” and “Great Value Printing” banners. -Raymond]
  4. tsrblke says:

    Blogs can spring up around anything now can’t they?  Leave it to scientists to not grant Art the benefit of being…art.

  5. Gabe says:

    Ah, right you are, Raymond. It seems the HP home page is cleverly designed to give me a different set of banners than it gives you. Once I selected the "Home & Home Office" header by moving my mouse over it, I was able to see the offending "snowflakes".

  6. John says:

    [Don’t make me bring back the nitpicker’s corner. -Raymond]

    The nitpicker’s corner is better than sex.

  7. Brian says:

    The number of commenters suggesting not setting [out] parameters to NULL on failure makes baby jesus cry.

  8. Anonymous Coward says:

    Reminds me of an event from when I was little. Where I lived we usually got horrible big snow flakes. If you looked carefully you could sometimes see crystal fragments in the flakes but they were mostly big aggregate irregular clumps.

    One day however when I was walking with someone I know, it snowed lightly, and we held up our mittens, and lo every little flake was a perfect six-sided crystal! Trouble is, after the event [s]he insisted that the crystals were four-sided.

    I looked things up and I learnt an important lesson: even when you trust someone 100% and you are absolutely sure [s]he is not lying to you, you still cannot trust their experience. Of course that raised the question about whether my own senses could be fully trusted. A very important lesson that you can’t learn young enough.

  9. Brian Watson says:

    Unicode U+2746 ‘Heavy Chevron Snowflake’ is a snowflake with 8 points.  The other two snowflake characters, U+2745 ‘Tight Trifoliate Snowflake’ and U+2744 ‘Snowflake’, are correct.

  10. D Stro says:

    Photo courtesy of UW-Madison.  U-rah-rah Wisconsin research science!

  11. Larry Hosken says:

    Obviously, these designers are from non-humans from another planet, one whose precipitation is not H2O water, but something else.  Something that freezes as something more, uhm, octagonal.  Think about it: being a designer would be a great cover identity for an extra-terrestrial trying to pass as human.  But little details like this still give them away.

  12. Random832 says:

    @Brian Watson – in what font? The unicode reference tables? The ones I see have six-sided ones for all three

    Are you talking about the one on That seems to use Arial Unicode MS (at least, it uses the same glyph for a png on the font list that is alleged to be Arial Unicode MS) – and anyone who reads Michael Kaplan’s blog knows Arial Unicode MS sucks.

  13. Sorry for offtopic, but I have a question, and how to submit it to suggestion box or where it is now…?

  14. David Walker says:

    @Dennis Yurichev:  If you click on the link labeled, um, Suggestion Box, on the right side of this very page, you’ll see a topic that ends with the following:

    "Note the enormous topic backlog. Consequently, the suggestion box has been closed temporarily and will reopen once the existing backlog has cleared, which I estimate will happen sometime in early 2010. If your suggestion is that important, I’m sure you’ll remember it when the suggestion box reopens."

  15. Brian Watson says:

    @Random832 – Sorry, I should have been more specific. It is indeed the Arial Unicode MS font’s rendition of that specific Unicode character that is an improper snowflake.  Other fonts support U+2746 with a proper snowflake.  I apologize for making the mistake of conflating a specific font’s rendering of a Unicode character with the Unicode standard itself.

    By the way, the image shown on for U+2746 in the Arial Unicode MS font is a correct reproduction of how the Arial Unicode MS font actually renders that glyph. One can verify this by selecting Arial Unicode MS as the font in Word (it’s an Office font after all), typing in U2746 Alt+X.

    I don’t read Michael Kaplan’s blog but the fact that U+2746 is an improper snowflake in Arial Unicode MS would certainly lend credence to his assertion that Arial Unicode MS sucks.



  16. ulric says:

    They’re six-sided?  That is something I completely did not know.  Geeky fun. :P

  17. porter says:

    Another one to add is economists who think that we need more people so we can have unlimited imagination to solve our problems.

    If one person has unlimited imagination then you don’t need two people or 10 billion to achieve unlimited imagination. If one person does not have unlimited imagination, then adding a finite number does not make it infinite.

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