wordles| yes, I am a typography cheat (don’t tell anyone)

I love typography, but I am not a typographer. A few years ago I discovered Wordles, but considered them a guilty pleasure, hiding my addiction from those who were skilled and accomplished designers. I considered starting this blog with a post about Wordles, but was embarrassed to confess spending time with a program that names fonts Alpha Fridge Magnets and Grilled Cheese. But then Wordles began showing up last week on other designer blogs (Dear Coffee, I Love You and Steve Mehallo), I felt ready to share…openly and without shame.

Wordles are “word clouds” created quickly from your content, emphasizing the most significant words. You can alter the number of words used, the colors, the font and the shape. It happens instantly (hence, the addictive quality). And yes, I do feel a small pang of guilt thinking of designers spending hours pondering over the placement of each word, the weight of the type, the shape of each ligature and it’s relationship to the others…I try to maintain my dignity by using “coolvetica” and staying away from fonts that could also be food names.

I have done Obama’s speeches, each of my blogs, my friends’ blogs,  and my daughter’s college essay. For birthday gifts, my youngest daughter has written stories about her friends, created Wordles, then framed them. I did a job description once, and do letters, poems, quotes and lists.

I did this based on a blog post I wrote during a trip to India.

For a friend who was fighting breast cancer (she won).

The big surprise was discovering how valuable they were for design work, to engage others to experience concepts and copy in news ways as we begin projects. I often create Wordles out of creative briefs, and have had my own clients want to use them to present design programs to their staff.  I use them to kick off naming projects and sometimes just to kickstart my own imagination. I can see what words come to the surface, and see new relationships within the language.  It’s particularly interesting to take all of the content from website, or a really length document, and create a Wordle out of 25 words. Try it.

My crowdsourcing|Peace o’ Pizza post, reduced to 25 words.

They’re fast, fun, and safe (as long as you stay away from the aforementioned food as fonts).  Mine tend to look the same, as I stay with the same settings (half and half, coolvetica, and I try to keep it simple with the colors). But you can go nuts…and if you do, send them over. It can be our secret, I promise. wordle.net. Have at it.

This post.

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2 Responses to “wordles| yes, I am a typography cheat (don’t tell anyone)”


  1. 1 LisaF February 2, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Oh my goodness. I’m not going to get ANYTHING done today.

  2. 2 Leslye February 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I have hearted wordles ever since I first heard about them — from you.


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