Aesthetics Wiki

Word Clouds, also called Tag Clouds or Typography, are a design aesthetic solely composed of keywords, their related words and ideas or concepts. They can represent a world family or a concept, or visually represent the words of a source text and its main ideas. The bigger a word is on a word cloud, the more importance it has to the source text or idea. Similiarly to ASCII art, word clouds can be used for a wide variety of things: they are often used on advertisements to represent the purposes and values of a company/website or to represent a concept, and other uses include art made out of words, cartography, maps, linguistics, representing the key ideas of a topic, studying, among many other uses.



The precursor of word clouds: a map of Paris and its landmarks.

The origin of World clouds can be traced back to the Milgran social experiments carried out by the psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s[1]. In 1976, in one of the experiments, they made over 200 participants from Paris draw a map of said city, mentioning various local places or landmarks. Milgram & Jodelet wrote down the number of mentions of each Parisian landmark and compiled them into a map of Paris where each mentioned landmark appeared, but the most mentioned landmarks were represented as bigger words. World clouds became avaiable to a wider public online in the late 1990s and early 2000s and they were popularized among bloggers by the Flickr photo-sharing website. The popularity of World Clouds blew up in 2005 when the scientifist Jonathan Feinberg created an algorithm that could generate word clouds out of tags. In 2008, the algorithm became publicly avaiable and Feinberg invented the, which could generate word clouds out of any word for its users.


The visuals of the World Clouds are really simple. Their most common characteristics are:

  • Text, keywords, related words and ideas/concepts
  • Glossaries, art, maps, advertisements, and other concepts represented by words.
  • Word size varies by the importance of the word.


Movies and television[]

Musical Artists[]


External Links[]

External links can help you get a better understanding of this aesthetic.


Concepts, cartography and linguistics[]


Word Cloud Art[]