Saturday, April 27, 2013

Working with Tag Clouds

Image Created in Wordle

Ever wondered what this kind of visuals are called? Up to a few months ago I had the same question in mind too.  A tag cloud, also known as a word cloud or a weighted list in visual design, is a visual representation for text data. Tags are usually single words, and the importance of each tag is shown with font size or color. Through this format one can quickly perceive the most prominent terms in a set of text. In principle, the font size of a tag in a tag cloud is determined by its incidence. Thus, tags that occur in higher frequency appear with larger fonts in the cloud.

The use of tag clouds has evolved since its conception.  Aside from providing visual analysis, they are also used in advertising and in certain creative endeavors. Today there are a number of tag cloud generators available online mostly free. You will be amazed on the many ways you can tweak a presentation using different fonts, layouts, font sizes and color.

The image you see above is actually the result of running the whole text of the Gettysburg Address in Wordle (one of the popular tag cloud generators).  You will note from the sizes of the fonts that foremost in the speech writer’s mind was the nation, people and dedication.  There are limitless approaches one can use this tool for.  The only limit I can think of is one’s imagination.

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  1. Wow, Luchie, I learned something new here. I always wondered how that kind of visual was created. I am going to check out Wordle. Thanks!

    1. Hi. Glad the post was of some help. There are actually a number of free word cloud generators available online and often each have their unique features. Wordle often just come out in searches most of the time. Cheers!