I could spend a lot of time adding custom overlays and hit testing to how I deal with Map Kit, or I could just insert a few colorful Emoji characters into my strings. (Unfortunately, I don't know how to get Blogger to encode the blue diamond character for view even on OS X or iOS.)
You might notice that I even made use of the Emoji characters in the images I generated for my map pins. Thus the guitar emoji became the catch-all icon for music like rock, rockabilly, R&B, while the cow represented the various country genres—I wish their was an Emoji cowboy hat. Hey, it's free, quality colorful scalable artwork, I'd rather use it than draw it.
- (NSString *)title
NSString* result = result = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"%@ 🔷 %.1f", self.callSign, self.frequency.floatValue];
And sometimes, making use of the huge number of characters in standard Unicode can save a lot of time, let's say you need to display chemical formula like H₂SO₄ well, you might think you'd need a complicated NSAttributedString to insert the subscript codes, but no, all you need is to use the subscripted number characters. Or maybe you want to say 4 1/2, but want to make it pretty, well let me introduce to you the vulgar half character with 4½. I don't know why it's vulgar, it's so beautiful and elegant and has a few cousins ¼ ¾ ⅓ ⅔ ⅕ ⅖ ⅗ ⅘ ⅜ ⅝ ⅞ ⅐ ⅑ ⅒, all of which you can just insert into your source code or localization files.
So, the next time you need an image lain out within a string, look under the Special Characters palette found at the end of Xcode's Edit menu. [Update: I've just realized that iOS 5 has many fewer, and much uglier Emoji style characters, so if you target that platform, please check out the results in the simulator.]