What is the term for an image created out of words? E.g. a picture of a tree created out of the word 'tree' for the branches and leaves etc.

It's usually created out of the name of the subject which it depicts. Children do this 'word image' exercise a lot at school.

  • 1
    There's a rebus (narrative that uses images in place of words) and a wordle which is an image made out of words. Neither are what you want. Do children do what you are describing in school? It sounds difficult, and not necessarily educational, but that's just me. Oct 28 '12 at 12:11
  • 1
    By now I'm used to calling it a calligram. Google images has quite a few interesting ones, if you want to take a look. Oct 28 '12 at 12:13
  • 2
    @Autoresponder why not post that as an answer?
    – Cameron
    Oct 28 '12 at 17:01
  • FYI, there's also ASCII art. Oct 28 '12 at 17:49
  • Related: technopaegnia
    – MetaEd
    Oct 29 '12 at 3:43

A calligram is an image formed by treating typography as brush strokes. Frequently, the typeset word is repeated, and/or typographic elements such as serifs, stems, etc. are rendered stylistically so as to visually depict what it describes. A famous calligram (created in an ad agency a few years ago) used two words to create a superbly impactful ad featuring the face of Osama bin laden.


Autoresponder's answer calligram is absolutely correct but for the sake of completeness, the other forms of art whereby images are created from repeated keywords or significant phrases using different typeface sizes and fonts are called:

From Art.com

Similarly, expression or representation of objects and people trumps the legibility of written words, as in Sean Williams’ artwork, weaving words and negative space into typographic portraits or The Experiential design collective’s portrait of Barack Obama for TIME Magazine, which was made entirely of headlines from his presidency.

Text portrait of Winston Churchill

Text portrait of Winston Churchill by Juan Osbourne

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