Because the human brain is wired for pattern detection, tiled image displays can encourage the discovery of meaningful similarities, differences, and trends within visual information.
A new Chrome browser extension designed by data visualization theorist Edward Tufte and software engineer Adam Schwartz called Imagequilts allows users to easily create and edit a tiled display of images resulting from a Google image search.
The image at the top of this post is the example from the ImageQuilt website created by searching on “Josef Albers.”
Once installed in the browser, when you perform a Google image search you’ll see a Make Imagequilt button at the top of your screen. Clicking it takes you to the Imagequilt curation screen, from which you can adjust the size of the tiled images, shuffle their order, select color or grayscale, and remove selected tiles from your quilt. Once you’ve got your quilt the way you want it, simply take a screenshot using whatever tool you prefer (I like Greenshot, which Mark recommended).
Here’s one of my own quick experiments on “iron scrollwork”:
The resulting image quilts can be instructive, playful, and beautiful. The process of creating them is both simple and enjoyable. I can imagine a number of ways to use this tool in the classroom, for research purposes, and just for fun. (Keep in mind, of course, that some images that show up in Google image search results may be protected by copyright.)
How would you use a tool like ImageQuilts? Let us know in the comments!Return to Top