Earlier this week, I was putting together a slideshow, and it involved taking some abstract ideas and putting an image that represented each one onscreen. Concrete-ization, because I can’t think of a better name. Simple. Something we do all the time in creating presentations and web content.
But I wanted the effect to be more surprising, more unexpected, more stylized than most of the images I found. Stock sites are good at tagging photos by concept, but the results can be rather generic; searching for Creative Commons-licensed content on Flickr turned up more realistic, often more interesting photos, but they don’t tend to be tagged by concept and therefore were more difficult to find. (Searching for “status” yields bands called Status Quo.)
Feeling uninspired, I asked friends and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter to come up with the nouns that came to mind when they saw these words. My purpose wasn’t to find the most common responses, necessarily, but to find something evocative in each word that I hadn’t considered yet.
Since several of you asked, here are their responses.
busy President Skills symbol person me Married symbol Quo facebook Mansion president position Relationship Rank President Condition Car alive facebook big timelime tall achiever Description Objective dating Facebook cat Wife Mr. Spock Project car (but not in a good way) position Trophy Gauge Scott Disick, Rolex, Bentley Money wealth Meeting mountain power
ladder Puzzle Managers overcome good Fun Hard Olympics difficult Mountain task Mountain Kelley marriage Overcome “Opportunity” (note the quotes) Course Trial Mountain Climbing goals climbing more Marathon game race risk, work, fun Bottleneck Accepted response Work Race mountain Workplace Sword high jump, puzzle Game task Contest Lawyer, mt Everest, marathon mountain Marathon Life goal dance ropes
smile Writing Creativity confidence love Me laughter Artist art Appearance art photography Dancing artists singing Art creativity Painting Art Clothing denied paint painting Art art art face, art, movement, freedom Rarity. hairdye Tattoo Painter wall Painting Hands emotion art Enthusiasm Artist, protester, art cars Talking artist Art art outdoors tattoos
letter Comments Growth reflection yes Information verbal Customer results Comment discussion survey, helpful Conference teacher input Green check Letter Brainstorming Critique Noise good critique help Bullhorn complaint pain conversation Contrived design Support Survey smile Meeting Amp computer response, chopped down tree Words learn Survey monkey, sound system Information guitar Performance Review change jimi hendrix noise
laugh Joke book Friends laugh nice Laugh joke Comedian jokes Comedian laugh sarcasm Dennis Leary My husband laughing Happiness Laughter, Necessity Show Fun Comedians necessary Laugh joke Comic laugh fun laughter, smile Desperation fuckballs Friend Comedian puppy Joke Cheese somebody laughing Laughter laugh Bill Cosby, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert Laughter comedian Comedy Club life clown bridge
rude Baby Office copy Duplication ape Body language child Bird flattery comedians. or children. Will Ferrell toddler toddlers Karaoke Parrot Aping, Copying, Patterning Myna bird darwin I know you are but what am I? joke copier ridicule learning strategy baby Parrot mockingbird Parrot people imitating statues Snark copy SNL, TMZ, “reality tv” Imitation mockingbird Parrot same intersection mockingbird
party The scream Happy startled Astonishment birthday Birthday party party Party gift birthdays. a gift. Expression artists party Birthday Party Party! Unfolding, Anticipation Startle no AHHH! gift joy party party novelty awe Gift gnat Paper Cake shiny money on the ground Shock Party, terrorists party Delight party party Birthday glance jack in the box
I’m not finished with my slide show yet, but seeing the wide variety of responses (and, sometimes, the lack of variety) has been very helpful. Thanks to everyone who took a few minutes to weigh in, and if you still want to contribute, click here