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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Put Words into Pictures with Wordle

Discovered the excellent free Wordle today.

Actually I read about Wordle a few months ago in that excellent repository of all-things-computer-made-simple: ComputerActive magazine. Wordle was created by Jonathan Feinberg, a senior software engineer at IBM Research.

Wordle makes great-looking word-clouds: pictures of the words in a piece of text where the words are displayed by size, the largest being with the most frequently used (it ignores common words like and, the, a etc.

But Wordle takes the word cloud a step further and turns it into art, by arranging the words in all sorts of directions, fonts and colours. And you can play about with the mix to create your very own unique Wordles.

Been meaning to try it out for ages. Today was the day because I got fed up of sifting through my 30,000 or so photos to find images to liven up this blog.

Wordle's a great way to create a visual from anything intangible such as an idea or a service. Wordles can also be manifested as unique cards, wrapping paper, tee-shirts, or ... the applications of Wordles are only limited by the imagination. And since conceptual art is big at the moment, it's bang on trend.

You can't copyright your own Wordle creations, but you can use your Wordles for commercial purposes, but see for the full copyright info (all explained concisely in real English).

The FAQs also explain how to take screengrabs that you can import into photo editing software (Picassa recognises screengrabs automatically if you are running it while screen-grabbing), but do remember to credit if you use a screen grab as this is IBM copyright you're playing with.

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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14 July 2010 at 08:49  

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