When I first began exploring word clouds as a means of visualizing biblical data, the result using Wordle was little better than a jumble of words sized according to frequency, with random colors and angular variations to add interest. It’s a decent proof of concept, but as I said earlier, it fails as a design concept unless it’s intelligently combined with other elements. Since then, I have discovered more well-developed technology that can “auto-magically” create word clouds which are good enough to stand alone as an artistic element.
At least one tool, Tagxedo, bridges the gap between Wordle’s overly simplistic automation and the manual processes required for intricate typographic designs such as maps made from words placed by hand, one by one. Its strength is in its ability to layout and color the words based on an uploaded image. I have re-created my original word cloud using words in the KJV (with some highly common words intentionally removed), laid out using an image of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns.
This tool allows you to save images in a range of useful formats as well as create your own products using that design. Interestingly, when I shared the above image with the Tagxedo creator, he pointed out the fact that the Tagxedo store features a few products already designed with Bible words, albeit from a different image of Jesus.
What I particularly like about this concept is that the usual images of Jesus are merely artistic imaginations which may not have anything at all to do with how he really looked. Instead, we get a truer, clearer picture of the Savior from the words he spoke though the writers of scripture. How much more appropriate is it to paint his image with those words?
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.