Our Mormon Wordles are created from original LDS texts and the wordle tool at Wordle.net.
The process for creating wordles described below can be used to create wordles for any purpose, however we will explain it using the setting of making advanced wordles or enhanced wordles of LDS documents.
Anyone can just grab some relevant texts from the Gospel Library on LDS.org library, throw it in Wordle.net and get a wordle out the other side. We take many additional steps, use several other software packages and processes to arrive at the Mormon Wordles posted on this site.
We will be describing our process more in the future, but offer the tips below at the present.
- Consider getting an Intel Mac with a large monitor. They handle images much nicer than PCs.
- We create a text document containing the text to be wordled. This is often done by copying the text from an existing source into a text editor (we use BBEdit on the Mac) NOT into Word or other word processing software packages that may create unwanted artifacts).
- We carefully edit the text it to make sure it does not contain citations, superscripts for footnotes, non-relevant text, footnotes, scripture chapter headings, or other spurious text.
- We scrutinize every hyphenated word and decide to leave the hyphen in or not based on its use. If we want to eliminate it, we just put a space in front of it and one behind it.
- We make sure no numbers are appended to words. Wordle rejects numbers by themselves, plus we want the words to be seen as they should be, not as “word17”.
- We keep a special eye out for apostrophes and quotation marks. When copied from certain formats, they create extraneous symbols in a text file.
- If we are working with a hymn, we make sure we only get the chorus once.
- We make sure the title is still part of the text document.
- We make sure any text that may have been represented in graphics (image of words) is actually represented by text.
- We keep an eye on any headings in talks and later decide to keep or remove them based on experimentation with the final wordles.
- We similarly may elect to double the title (list the text twice) to further emphasize the title based on results of the final wordles.
- Once we are sure we have the proper text captured, we save it in a group of files we call text bins.
- We put tildes (weird symbol used with foreign words) between names and words that are phrases so they are represented as phrase in the final wordle and not as scattered about as single words. (Such as Joseph Smith and New York)
- Once we are certain we have the tildes properly placed, we re-save the text in files we call tilde text bins. These files become the working text for the wordles.
- We spend a lot of time learning the wordle fonts, studying the various layout orientations, the edge options, the color options, and the palette variation options. We select one or more of each we think might best represent the feel of the text being wordled and begin wordling.
- We keep an eye on the phrases we have forced in the wordle by using the tilde symbol. If we have too many phrases or several of them are long, the wordle starts to look like spaghetti (lots of long strands) and looses some of its appeal and usefulness. If it looks like spaghetti, we re-evaluate which phrases need to be maintained and turn the others back into single words in the text file, and re-begin wordling. We have found if you just tilde the proper names (Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, Joseph Smith, Son of God, etc) that is about right.
- When a wordle comes up we like, we save a pdf copy of it (you will need some special software to do that on a PC). Plus we keep everything the same and just recolor it to “black on white” and to “white on black”. We have found those two color combinations are often useful in post processing the wordles.
- We keep looking at various combinations of the options we selected, plus experiment with a few we didn’t.
- Once we find a group of options we like, we hit the “Re-layout With Current Settings” button a few times and watch the individual words change color and move around the canvas. When they are in a pleasing and meaningful arrangement, we capture a pdf. We also capture that same pdf in “black on white” and in “white on black” which are sometimes useful in later renderings.
- Once we have a few pdfs, we begin post processing the wordles. Sometimes we elect to use special filters to achieve certain affects. Other times we may elect to change the colors of certain words or to reposition certain words using inkscape (Mac Open Source SVG graphics editor).
- We write the source of the text and our name on the images in a font that seems appropriate for the setting.
- Sometimes we add a large title using the same font.
- We are experimenting with light renderings and textures when they seem fitting.
- Sometimes we create an “on image” frame (rectangular box around the image).
- We use various software packages to crop and size the resulting images into optimal pixels sizes and optimal file sizes for online viewing, while maintaining good resolution (fit on the screen, keep the file size small and the resolution high),
- Eventually we turn the more basic images into GIFS. GIF format allows small file sizes and displays wordles nicely because they only have a few colors and have large areas of similar colors. The more highly processed images or those with lighting are usually changed to JPEG format.
- Then we push the GIFs through a “save for web” display step to further reduce the color count and file size. We try to reduce the color count as far as we can without causing problems.
- We consider putting a software created frame or edge treatment around the final images and use one when we think it enhances the viewing experience.
- We zoom in on some of the resulting pdf images and capture partial images of them for display. While they fail to catch the “whole” message they can be very striking to view.
- We try to display the images in sizes near maximum width of our Blog pages, but some of the more processed or lighted images sometimes have to be further reduced in display size to avoid excessive download times.
We may further detail our process later. You certainly do not have to go through all these steps to have an enjoyable experience making a wordle. We encourage you to capture some LDS text yourself, go to wordle.net, and enjoy the experience first hand.
Our processes are certainly not limited to producing Mormon Wordles. Others may find our post processing steps helpful in their endeavors as well.
We welcome your comments about our processes or your own results. If you have any problems with the wordle process on wordle.net, please study their FAQ. If you still have a question about the process on wordle.net, post those questions in their forum. We do not address questions about wordle.net here.
This post was originally on our Mormon Wordles dot Com site, then copied here in January 2017. It was written by Gary Polson and first posted 18 February 2010.