Pictures out of words

What is the term for an image created out of words?

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The Launchpad is a series that introduces Mashable readers to compelling startups. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Pictual

One-Liner Pitch: Pictual turns your words into visual statements.

Why It’s Taking Off: The startup aims to give average users access to high-quality designs and tools to boost their creative potential.

Who doesn’t love a good motivational poster or famous quote in picture format gracing their Facebook stream? If you fall in this camp, you’re in luck: there’s a new app for making these little images, all in a few clicks.

Pictual is an iPhone app that enables users to turn their words into images, all based on the sentiment of their statements. Type “Heading to the beach” into the app, and it will produce hundreds of templates, the most relevant of which will include sandy, sunny, beachy references.

See also: 11 Creepiest Things You Can Do on Instagram

After returning home to Boston from a recent trip, I used Pictual to let my friends know I was back in town. I typed “Back in Boston, ya’ll!” into the app and a feed of photo options appeared. My favorite, which appeared first, was a faded picture of the Boston skyline with a whimsical graphic and tall, thin text. I shared the photo with a few dedicated Whatsapp chat groups, directly from the Pictual app.

Photo sharing and messaging apps are all the rage, but the one thing all of these photo-sharing apps are missing is the high-power editing chops of the king of all photo editing: Adobe Photoshop. The team at Pictual aims to make editing photos as simple as sharing them currently is, but with the high-end look of professional tools, like Photoshop.

“Pictual is on a mission to democratize creativity in graphic design by providing simple and easy to use creativity tools to bring out the latent creativity in all of us,” says founder Chintan Intwala, who previously worked at Adobe on Photoshop. “Pictual was born out of an observation that high-end professional creativity tools such as Photoshop benefit a very small segment of the population.”

He added: “Pictual wants to give our customers access to high-quality designs, tools and experiences to unleash their creative genius.”

The app has three key functionalities:

  1. Express: Type in what you’re feeling or want to say, and Pictual will find the graphics for your message.

  2. Upload: Take a photo, open one from your phone, or find one you’ve already posted on a social channel, such as Facebook or Instagram, and scroll through graphic and typography templates to overlay on the image.

  3. Browse: Browse through Pictual’s trending templates and customize with your own words.

The app’s “Express” feature is the most technically impressive of the three functionalities, as it incorporates sentiment analysis to determine the mood or emotion behind a user’s words in order to recommend the best templates.

Intwala says the app’s hundreds of designs are all created by individual designers. “Each design is meant to tell a story and each design was put together tastefully by an artist,” he says. “Just as the user of Pictual uses the designs to express themselves, the designer or the artist is expressing his or her creativity through the artwork.”

While the designs are currently produced by Pictual’s in-house designers, the startup is building a platform to enable other talented designers to contribute on a freelance basis. The team is in talks to first make the platform available for students at select design schools, including the Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and Stanford’s d.school.

Pictual is free and available for iPhone. Though Android compatibility is the top request from users at this point, says Intwala, the company’s top priorities are developing more designs and incorporating the ability for users to seamlessly share Pictual pictures on their friends’ timelines.

Writing With Bedding Plants: Tips On Forming Pictures Or Words With Plants

Using flowers to make words is a fun way to create a colorful display that is uniquely yours. Writing with bedding plants is a technique often used to display a company name or logo, or to denote the name of a park or public event. However, you can easily learn how to plant flowers to spell out words in your own garden. Read more about forming words with plants.

Writing with Bedding Plants

Using flowers to make words involves planting colorful flowering plants, usually annuals, close together so that they resemble a carpet – which is why this method of planting may also be referred to

as carpet bedding.

Forming words with plants works best if you have a fairly large space too. This allows you the room to spell out a word, like a name, or even to create interesting shapes or geometric designs.

Choosing Carpet Bedding Plants

Look for dense, low-growing plants for carpet bedding in gardens. The plants should be bold colors that will show up. Limit your design to a single color for each letter. A few examples of carpet bedding plants include:

  • Pansies
  • Ageratum
  • Nicotiana
  • Alyssum
  • Nemesia
  • Lobelia

How to Plant Flowers to Spell Out Words or Pictures

  1. Plan your design on a piece of graph paper.
  2. Loosen the soil and dig in compost or manure if the soil is poor.
  3. Rake out rocks, then smooth the soil with the back of your rake.
  4. Mark the letters with sand or spray chalk, or outline the letters with stakes.
  5. Arrange the plants evenly in the design area. Allow 6 to 12 inches between each plant. (Plants should be dense, but allow enough air circulation between plants to prevent fungus and other moisture-related diseases.)
  6. Water immediately after planting.

That’s it! Now that you know how to create your own carpet bedding design, get started and put your garden plants into words.

Plant and Herb Magic

Plants and their Magical Properties

Aloe

Magical properties: Plants will keep you safe from any evil influences and protect you from accidents within the home.

Anise

Magical properties: Put anise seeds in a small cotton bag and place under your pillow this will ward off nightmares just as a dream catcher does; if you use anise leaves in your sacred space and inside your magic circle when practicing your magic or meditating, the leaves will protect your sacred space from anything untoward.

Ash

Magical properties: By holding or carrying on your person, a piece of ash you will always be protected on or near water, ash can also be hung in doorways and ward off malevolent spirits. You can sprinkle ash around the outside of your home for protection, place the ash in the four directions of earth, air, fire and water, placing a talisman of each in each of the four directions.

Basil

Magical properties: Basil has potent love properties and is used when casting love spells.

Blackberry

Magical properties: Always use blackberry when casting money spells as it contains properties of abundance. Blackberry can also be used for protection from malevolent energies and for health protection.

Black Cohosh

Magical properties: Black Cohosh is used in love spells, and helps foster determination, courage and faith in self when carried.

Blood Root

Magical properties: This particular root draws love to you on all levels and helps to create a positive vibration and repels negativity, place around your home, above doorways and windows. If you are single and looking for romance place some on your bedside table with a rose quartz next to it and two red candles.

Catnip

Magical properties: Catnip is a magnet for positive energies and luck, if can also be used in love spells in conjunction with the placing of a rose quartz and red rose petals.

Chamomile

Magical properties: All witches know to use chamomile in their money spells, chamomile used well, creates abundance, if you want to remove a curse, spell or negative feeling, use chamomile first steeped in warm water then sprinkled with basil.

Cinquefoil

Magical properties: For any official purposes, help or guidance you can’t go past Cinquefoil, place a small bag of Cinquefoil under your bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep, the five properties of the leaves are love, health, power, money, intelligence and wisdom.

Cowslip

Magical properties: The powerful scent has healing properties and has been used by witches for centuries.

Elder

Magical properties: Elder will protect you from all types of negativity, place on windowsills, in doorways, the berries can be carried on your person, you may choose to place in a pot or flower bed, it will bring you prosperity, elder wood is also used for wand making.

Fennel

Magical properties: Fennel will repel all evil spirits, it is good luck to grow it around the home as a form of protection. Hang it at windows and doorways and carry with you for protection.

Hawthorne

Magical properties: If you have Hawthorne in or around home you will repel ghosts, Hawthorne also draws fairies into your garden.

Hazel

Magical properties: Hazel twigs in your home, strategically placed, will protect your home from damage due to inclement weather and fire. Brides were often given hazel nuts for good luck.

Hibiscus

Magical properties: Always use a red Hibiscus flower when making love potions it is associated with good fortune and love.

Holly

Magical properties: Holly will protect you from all things earthly or otherwise, plant around your home for a ring of protection and carry holly for luck. A love potion can be made using holly leaves, rose petals, a rose quartz and two red candles, light the candles and visualise the object of your desire, do this for five minutes then blow out the candles and drink a full glass of water, wash your hands when you finish. Use a cloth to place holly leaves in and put under the bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

Lavender

Magical properties: Lavender is the perfect plant to use in love spells, to attract love rub lavender on your clothes, lavender under your pillow will give you a restful night’s sleep.

Marigold

Magical properties: If you are in an executive, or in a position of power or influence, bathe in a hot bath with Marigold to help you further your career. By stringing Marigold around your home you will be sure to keep out evil spirits. It also works on unpleasant or unwanted visitors by repelling them.

Mint

Magical properties: Mint is the perfect herb to use when you are planning to travel, it is also used for prosperity spells. Benign spirits are drawn to mint when it is placed in your sacred circle or upon your magic alter.

Mistletoe

Magical properties: It is said that if you carry Mistletoe it will help fertility and protect you from all ills. To repel evil spirits burn mistletoe, and by placing mistletoe under or on your bed it will ensure a good night’s sleep and enhance dreams.

Morning Glory

Magical properties: Morning Glory seeds under your pillow will work like a dream catcher and prevent nightmares, and by growing it in the garden Morning Glory will draw happiness and tranquility.

Nettle

Magical properties: Witches have always used Nettle to remove a curse and return it back from where it came, have a pot of freshly cut Nettle under the bed for someone who is unwell, it helps in the recovery.

Oak

Magical properties: Place Oak twigs around your home as protection it can also be placed within the home, Acorns placed in the window will protect the home from lightning and floods, it will also ward off illness. Acorns on windowsills when the moon is full will draw money to you.

Passion Flower

Magical properties: Passion Flower brings tranquility to a household that is experiencing difficulties or tensions, by carrying it, it breeds hospitality and good social relationships. Under your bed or pillow it aids in having a restful night’s sleep.

Peppermint

Magical properties: Perfect for healing, often taken for upset stomachs and works particularly well for nausea, place under the pillow for a good night’s sleep, it also fosters precognitive dreams.

Rose

Magical properties: The rose has been used in love spells for centuries, it brings harmony and warm feelings, roses in your garden welcome all manner of magic beings. Place rose petals around the home for an ambient environment and to reduce tensions and upsets.

Snapdragon

Magical properties: When you are practicing your craft place a vase of snapdragons for protection, snapdragon on your altar and reflected in a mirror repels curses and sends them back from where they came.

St. John’s Wort

Magical properties: St. John’s Wort can be worn to help physical healing, and to banish evil spirits, it also helps to brighten you up if you wear when you are having emotional difficulties.

Sunflower

Magical properties: Grow Sunflowers in your garden and bring them into your home for good luck and a lightness of spirit.

Below is a complete list of plants, Herbs and their magical properties

Herbs and their magical properties A-Z

A
Acacia : Protection, Psychic Powers, Money and Love Spells
Adam & Eve Roots : Love, Happiness
Adders Tongue : Healing
African Violet : Spirituality, Protection
Agaric : Fertility
Agrimony : Protection, Sleep
Ague Root : Protection
Alfalfa : Prosperity, Anti-Hunger, Money
Alkanet : Purification, Prosperity
Allspice : Money, Luck, Healing
Almond : Money, Prosperity, Wisdom
Aloe : Protection, Luck
Aloes, Wood : Love, Spirituality
Althea : Protection, Psychic Powers
Alyssum : Protection, Moderating Anger
Amaranth : Healing Heartbreak, Protection, Invisibility,
Anemone : Health, Protection, Healing
Angelica : Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Visions
Anise : Protection, Purification, Youth
Apple : Love, Healing, Garden Magic, Immortality
Apricot : Love
Arabic Gum : Spirituality, Purify Negativity and Evil
Arbutus : Exorcism, Protection
Asafoetida : Exorcism, Purification, Protection
Ash : Protection, Prosperity, Sea Rituals, Health
Aspen : Eloquence, Anti-Theft
Aster : Love
Avens : Exorcism, Purification, Love
Avocado : Love, Lust, Beauty

B

Birch : Protection, Exorcism, Purification and Cleansing
Bistort : Psychic Powers, Fertility
Bittersweet : Protection, Healing
Blackberry : Healing, Money, Protection
Bladderwrack : Protection, Sea Spells, Wind Spells,
Money, Psychic Powers
Bleeding Heart : Love
Bloodroot : Love, Protection, Purification
Bluebell : Luck, Truth
Blueberry : Protection
Blue Flag : Money
Bodhi : Fertility, Protection, Wisdom, Meditation
Boneset : Protection, Exorcism
Borage : Courage, Psychic Powers
BrackenBrazil NutBriony : Image Magic, Money, Protection
Bromeliad : Protection, Money
Broom : Purification, Protection, Wind Spells, Divination
Buchu : Psychic Powers, Prophetic Dreams
Buckthorn : Protection, Exorcism, Wishes, Legal Matters

C

Cabbage : Luck
Cactus : Protection, Chastity
Calamus : Luck, Healing, Money, Protection
Camellia -Riches
Camphor : Chastity, Health, Divination
Caper : Potency, Lust, Luck
Carawy : Protection, Lust, Health, Anti-Theft, Mental Powers
Cardamon : Lust, Love
Carnation : Protection, Strength, Healing
Carob : Protection, Health
Carrot : Fertility, Lust
Cascara Sagrada : Legal Matters, Money, Protection,
Cashew : Money
Castor : Protection
Catnip : Cat Magic, Love, Beauty, Happiness
Cat Tail : Lust
Cedar : Healing, Purification, Money, Protection
Celandine : Protection, Escape, Happiness, Legal Matters
Celery : Mental Powers, Lust, Psychic Powers
Centaury : Snake Removing
Chamomile : Money, Sleep, Love, Purification
Cherry : Love, Divination
Chestnut : Love
Chickweed : Fertility, Love
Chicory : Removing Obstacles, Invisibility, favors, Frigidity
Chili pepper : Fidelity, Hex Breaking, Love
China Berry : Luck, Change
Chrysanthemum : Protection
Cinchona : Luck, Protection
Cinnamon : Spirituality, Success, Healing, Power,
Psychic Powers, Lust, Protection, Love
Cinquefoil : Money, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Sleep
Cloth of Gold : Understand Animal Languages
Clove : Protection, Exorcism, Love, Money

D
Daffodil : Love, Fertility, Luck
Daisy : Lust, Luck
Damiana : Lust, Love, Visions
Dandelion : Divination, Wishes, Calling Spirits
Datura : Hex Breaking, Sleep, Protection
Deerstongue : Lust, Psychic Powers
Devils Bit : Exorcism, Love, Protection, Lust
Devils Shoestring : Protection, Gambling, Luck, Power, Employment
Dill : Protection, Money, Lust, Luck
Dittany of Crete : Manifestations, Astral Projection
Dock : Healing, Fertility, Money
Dodder : Love, Divination, Knot Magic
Dogbane : Love
Dogwood : Wishes, Protection
Dragons Blood : Love, Protection, Exorcism, Potency
Dulse : Lust, Harmony
Dutchmans Breeches : Love

E

Ebony : Protection, Power
Echinacea : Strengthening Spells
Edelweiss : Invisibility, Bullet-Proofing
Elder : Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Prosperity, Sleep
Elecampane : Love, Protection, Psychic Powers
Elm : Love
Endive : Lust, Love
Eryngo : Travelers Luck, Peace, Lust, Love
Eucalyptus : Healing, Protection
Euphorbia : Purification, Protection
Eyebright : Mental Powers, Psychic Power

F

Fennel : Protection, Healing, Purification
Fenugreek : Money
Fern : Rain Making, Protection, Luck, Riches,
Eternal Youth, Health, Exorcism
Feverfew : Protection
Fig : Divination, Fertility, Love
Figwort : Health, Protection
Flax : Money, Protection, Beauty, Psychic Powers, Healing
Fleabane : Exorcism, Protection, Chastity
Foxglove : Protection
Frankincense : Protection, Exorcism, Spirituality
Fumitory : Money, Exorcism
Fuzzy Weed : Love, Hunting

I
Indian Paint Brush : Love
Iris : Purification, Wisdom
Irish Moss : Money, Luck, Protection
Ivy : Protection, Healing

K
Kava-Kave : Visions, Protection, Luck
Knotweed : Binding, Health

L
Lady’s mantle : Love
Lady’s slipper : Protection
Larch : Protection, Anti-Theft
Larkspur : Health, Protection
Lavender : Love, Protection, Sleep, Chastity,
Longevity, Purification, Happiness, Peace
Leek : Love, Protection, Exorcism
Lemon : Longevity, Purification, Love, Friendship
Lemongrass : Repel snakes, Lust, Psychic Powers
Lemon Verbena : Purification, Love
Lettuce : Chastity, Protection, Love, Divination, Sleep
Licorice : Love, Lust, Fidelity
Life Everlasting : Longevity, Health, Healing
Lilac : Exorcism, Protection, Beauty
Lily : Protection, Breaking Love spells
Lily of the Valley : Mental Powers, Happiness
Lime : Healing, Love, Protection
Linden : Protection, Immortality, Luck, Love, Sleep
Liquidamber : Protection
Liverwort : Protection
Liverwort : Love
Looestrife : Peace, Protection
Lotus : Protection, Lock-Opening
Lovage : Love
Love Seed : Love, Friendship
Lucky Hand : Employment, Luck, Protection, Money, Travel

M
Mace : Psychic Powers, Mental Powers
Maguey : Lust
Magnolia : Fidelity
Mahogany, Mountain : Anti-Lightning
Maidenhair : Beauty, Love
Male Fern : Luck, Love
Mallow : Love, Protection, Exorcism
Mandrake : Protection, Love, Money, Fertility, Health
Maple : Love, Longevity, Money
Marigold : Protection, Prophetic Dreams,
Business and Legal Matters, Psychic Powers
Marjoram : Protection, Love, Happiness, Health, Money, Healing
Master Wort : Strength, Courage, Protection
Mastic : Psychic Powers, Manifestations, Lust
May Apple : Money
Meadow Rue : Divination
Meadowsweet : Love, Divination, Peace, Happiness
Mesquite : Healing
Mimosa : Protection, Love, Prophetic Dreams, Purification
Mint : Money, Love, Luck, Healing, Exorcism, Travel, Protection
Mistletoe : Protection, Love, Hunting, Fertility, Health, Exorcism
Molukka : Protection
Moonwort : Money, Love
Moss : Luck, Money
Mugwort : Strength, Psychic Powers, Protection,
Prophetic Dreams, Healing, Astral Projection
Mulberry : Protection, Strength
Mullein : Courage, Protection, Health, Love, Divination, Exorcism
Mustard : Fertility, Protection, Mental Powers
Myrrh : Protection, Exorcism, Healing, Spirituality
Myrtle : Love, Fertility, Youth, Peace, Money

N
Nettle : Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Lust
Norfolk Island Pine : Protection, anti hunger
Nuts : Fertility, Prosperity, Love, Luck

P
Palm, Date : Fertility, Potency
Pansy : Love, Rain Magic, Love, Divination
Papaya : Love, Protection
Papyrus : Protection
Parosela : Hunting
Parsley : Love, Protection, Purification
Passion Flower : Peace, Sleep, Friendship
Patchouly : Money, Fertility, Lust
Pea : Money, Love
Peach : Love, Exorcism, Longevity, Fertility, Wishes
Pear : Lust, Love
Pecan : Money, Employment
Pennyroyal : Strength, Protection, Peace
Peony : Protection, Exorcism
Pepper : Protection, Exorcism
Peppermint : Purification, Sleep, Love, Healing, Psychic Powers
Pepper Tree : Purification, Healing, Protection
Periwinkle : Love, Lust, Mental Powers, Money, Protection
Persimmon : Changing Sex, Healing, Luck
Plot Weed : Protection
Pimento : Love
Pimpernel : Protection, Health
Pine : Healing, Fertility, Protection, Exorcism, Money
Pineapple : Luck, Money, Chastity
Pipsissewa : Money, Spirit Calling

Q
Quassia : Love
Quince : Protection, Love, Happiness

S
Saffron : Love, Healing, Happiness, Wind Raising,
Lust, Strength, Psychic Powers.
Sage : Immortality, Longevity, Wisdom, Protection, Wishes
Sagebrush : Purification, Exorcism
St.Johns Wort : Health, Power, Protection, Strength,
Love, Divination, Happiness
Sandalwood : Protection, Healing, Exorcism, Spirituality
Sarsaparilla : Love, Money
Sassafras : Health, Money
Savory, Summer : Mental Powers
Scullcap : Love, Fidelity, Peace
Senna : Love
Sesame : Money. Lust
Shallot : Purification
Skunk Cabbage : Legal Matters
Slippery Elm : Halts Gossip
Sloe : Exorcism, Protection
Snakeroot : Luck Money
Snakeroot/black : Love, Lust, Money
Snapdragon : Protection
Solomons Seal : Protection, Exorcism
Sorrel Wood : Healing, Health
Southern Wood : Love, Lust, Protection
Spanish Moss : Protection
Spearmint : Healing, Love, Mental Powers
SpiderWort : Love
Spikenard : Love
Squill : Money, Protection, Hex Breaking
Star, Anise : Psychic Powers, Luck
Stillengia : Psychic Powers
Straw : Luck, Image Magic
Strawberry : Love, Luck
Sugar Cane : Love, Lust
Sumbul : Love, Luck, Health, Psychic Powers
Sunflower : Fertility, Wishes, Health, Wisdom
Sweetgrass : Calling Spirits

T
Tamarind : Love
Tamarisk : Exorcism, Protection
Tansy : Health, Longevity
Tea : Riches, Courage, Strength
Thistle : Strength, Protection, Hex Breaking, Healing
Thistle, Holy : Purification, Hex Breaking
Thistle, Milk : Snake Enraging
Thyme : Health, Healing, Sleep, Psychic Powers,
Love, Purification, Courage
Toadflax : Protection, Hex Breaking
Toadstool : Rain Making
Tobacco : Healing, Purification
Turmeric : Purification
Turnip : Protection, Ending Relationships

U
Urva Ursa : Psychic Workings

W
Wahoo : Hex-breaking, Courage, Success
Walnut : Health, Mental Powers, Infertility, Wishes
Wax Plant : Protection
Wheat : Fertility, Money
Willow : Love, Divination, Protection, Healing
Wintergreen : Protection, Healing, Hex Breaking
Winters Bark : Success
Witch Grass : Happiness, Lust, love, Exorcism
Witch Hazel : Protection, Chastity
Wolfs Bane : Protection, Invisibility
Wood Rose : Luck
Woodruff : Victory, Protection, Money
Wormwood : Psychic Powers, Protection, Love, Calling Spirits

XYZ

Yarrow : Courage, Love, Psychic Powers, Exorcism
Yellow Evening Primrose : Hunting
Yerba Mate : Fidelity, Love, Lust
Yerba Santa : Beauty, Healing, Psychic Powers, Protection
Yew : Raising the Dead
Yohimbe : Love, Lust
Yucca : Transmutation, Protection, Purification

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Bath tub with my children’s names spelled out – Picture of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

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Spell It Out Photos

Spell-It-Out Photos?

That is easy.

We are ONLY Letter Art Company that does not turn images on their side to create a letter. Our images maintain photo integrity of keeping the horizon horizontal where is should be!

We offer 3 amazing alphabet letter art photography galleries: Countryside letters in nature, Sports including baseball themed photo letters, golf letters, football letter photos, and Winter ski themed letters, snow photos from the sierras and Tahoe. You won’t see a letter art collection like this ANYWHERE. Spell-It-Out Photos has the largest sports letter art selection on the market. We have over 1200 images to choose from. Our bright and colorful images are also available in striking black and white and warm sepia tones.

Furthermore, our high end frames are made of solid wood and we double mat each frame with acid- and lignin-free mats. Double matting creates a distinct depth to each artistic creation. These products will be cherished for a lifetime.

is Letter Art?

A photo collection gathered from ordinary objects that create letters.Letter Art Photography including name frames is a growing trend in home décor. Be the first on your block to spell your name with letters when you choose our custom, unique alphabet photography. We take photographic images of objects in nature that create letters. We then give you the opportunity to pick and choose letters from our photo gallery to create a word, name or phrase that has meaning to you.

Next you choose to have your custom creation framed, printed on acrylic, wood, metal, or made into unique greeting cards. Our frames, acrylic, metal and wood pieces are shipped ready to hang.

It’s as simple as that!!

to Use It?

Decor: Home, Retail, Dorm Room, Apartment, Club, Office Signage, Restaurant, Classroom

Signature Frames: Wedding, Retirement, Anniversary, Recognition, Family Reunion, or Birthday.

Other Fun Uses: Event Signs, Prom Invites, Wedding Favors, Wedding Decor, Place Cards, Proposals – Call or Email Us for Ideas: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 888-277-1613

Images Copyrighted. Copyright infringement laws will apply. Any reproduction, redistribution, or commercial use of our images, without written consent, is prohibited.

We support You do not need a Paypal account to use this purchase method. You can opt to pay with your credit card once you click on checkout with Paypal. PayPal is a highly secure method for online purchases, to read about Paypal security,

Spell it out

Photobox’s resident gift guru, Matt James of Party-Ideas-by-a-Pro, is an award-winning party planner who’s produced birthdays, weddings, and events for A-list celebrities such as Stella McCartney, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sir Elton John. He shares his inspirational ideas for using Photobox products to create thoughtful and meaningful Christmas gifts.

They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ – and while it’s true they can capture memories, loved ones and precious moments in time, they can never explicitly convey our feelings towards someone. Sometimes, words are more meaningful.

Yet how often do we take the time to remind someone what they mean to us – that we love them, appreciate them and are grateful to have them in our lives? Exactly. That’s what makes it so special when we do.

While hearing those words creates a moment of affection, capturing those sentiments in a picture that can be looked at over and over, allows that moment to be felt time and time again.

So, whether it’s the first time you’ve said it or a much-deserved reminder, sometimes the best way to communicate how you feel is to literally SPELL IT OUT.

1. How it works

While you could convey a simple celebratory message, such as ‘Happy 80th birthday Grandma’ or ‘Merry Christmas from all of us’, I think this idea works best as a gift when the message is something more heartfelt. This might be ‘You are my world’ for a significant other, ‘You’re the sister I never had’ for a best friend, or ‘All that I am, I owe to you’ for a parent.

Alternatively, keep it light with a more humorous message such as ‘I know your real age’ for a best friend or sister’s birthday, ‘Too late to die young’ for a milestone birthday, or ‘Who will make the tea now?’ as a leaving or retirement gift.

Once you’ve decided on the sentiment, think about how many individual photos you’ll need to spell it out. Then consider how many people you’re going to include in the final collage. Will it be just yourself spelling out each letter, you and your siblings, your children, a group of friends or the entire family?

The great thing about this idea is that, if you’re assembling a large group of people, you don’t need to have them all together in one place. Instead, you can assign each person a letter or word and ask them to take their own photo to email to you – so it’s easy to include friends and family wherever they live.

In fact, the beauty of this idea is that it’s an opportunity to bring together an entire family or group of dispersed friends to create a uniquely personal gift – even when that may not be physically possible.

Once you have all the individual photographs, you can arrange them together into a collage before uploading it onto one of Photobox’s many gifts.

Check out my tips for creating your own collage at the end of this page.

2. Who it’s for

Whether it’s babies, kids, or grown-up children reminding mum or dad on Mother/Father’s Day, a boyfriend confessing to his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day or all the grandkids coming together to tell Grandma at Christmas, capturing those three little words ‘I/We Love You’ in a photograph will ensure that moment is remembered – and make a wonderful gift for a special occasion.

Alternatively, you might want to spell out your gratitude to a best mate on their birthday with ‘I’m lucky to have you as a friend’, have work colleagues congratulate someone on their retirement with ‘Things won’t be the same without you’, or reassemble the bridesmaids and groomsmen to tell a special couple ‘We knew you two had something special’ on their wedding anniversary.

Of course, you don’t have to spell out anything profound. Simply being able to bring friends and family together for a group photo is what makes this idea special – even for simple greetings such as ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Merry Christmas’.

1. How to turn it into a gift

This is such a quirky and unusual way to capture a group of friends or family, so I recommend giving it in the form of a gift that they can display or use in their everyday life. That way, it’ll bring a smile to their face every time they look at it.

Wall Art

Frame it, supersize it, or print it onto canvas, this idea lends itself perfectly to a range of Photobox’s wall art gifts. There are lots of different options available – from a traditional Canvas and Timeless Framed Print, to stylish aluminum mounted or Wooden Wall Prints that’ll ensure your recipient keeps this special gift proudly on display.

Desktop gifts

Alternatively, there are many gifts, such as a Wooden Desk Print, freestanding Photo Block or a Mug, that’ll ensure they can see it every day at home or work. . Check out all the options here.

Everyday gifts

Photobox has numerous other small gifts, such as Phone/iPad Cases, Cushions, Personalised Beach Towels, Jigsaws and more – all of which you could customise with your Head to Head portrait. Which one would they appreciate most?

Christmas cards

Finally, you could also use your Motley Bunch photo to create unique family Christmas cards to send out for the holidays.

Tips

Here are some of my pro tips for creating your ‘Spell It Out’ portrait:

1. Choose the gift

Before you set about creating the photograph, think about which gift from the Photobox range you want to put it on. This might influence whether the final image would be best arranged as a square or rectangular collage, how many individual images it should consist of, and consequently, how many signs your message would need to fit onto.

Some gifts, such as their Collage Canvas, have a built-in collage-making template that let you to choose from different grid-styles, then upload individual photos and choose their position.

Other gifts, such as the Timeless Framed Prints or Mugs for example, need you to assemble the collage yourself (see instructions in step 4, below) and upload it as one complete image.

In these cases, choose your gift and make a note of the dimensions if there are different size options available. Then look up the product on this chart to determine the best ratio for your collage and how many individual images you’ll need to achieve an evenly spaced grid-style collage like the examples below.

Alternatively, you might prefer to create more of a free-form collage, like the examples below. The advantages of these are that the photos don’t all have to be the same size and you can separate letters into words, with spaces in between or on separate rows (whereas the grid-style collages result in a continuous run of letters with words sometimes split over several rows). If you prefer this option, look up your product on this chart and just make a note of the ratio.

Then I recommend you follow the instructions in step 4 to practice creating your collage, using any existing photos you have to hand. Experiment with different layouts to determine how many individual images you’ll need.

2. Decide on your message

Once you’ve worked out the best number of individual images to fit your chosen gift, you can think about what message you want to communicate and how many letters that would equate to.

If it’s a long phrase, you don’t have to restrict yourself to one letter per sign. You can always condense smaller words – such as mum, dad, and love – onto one sign. Alternatively, use one word per sign across the entire phrase.

Just remember, the more individual images your final collage is made up of, the smaller each one will appear on the final product.

3. Give clear instructions

If you’re not shooting all the photos yourself, but rather you’re asking people to take their own photo and send it to you, and assuming you want there to be some consistency between all the images, be sure to give specific instructions on things like:

  • Background:specify whether they should take the photo against a plain white wall, a red brick wall, a green hedge etc. I suggest emailing everyone a sample photo and asking them to recreate it as closely as possible.
  • Lighting: indoor or natural outdoor lighting has a huge impact on how each image looks. So depending on your choice or background, be sure everyone takes their photo in similar lighting conditions to avoid some appearing darker than others.
  • Clothes: be clear on what type of clothes everyone should wear. Should people dress smart or are you happy with more casual jeans and t-shirts?
  • Letters: if you’re assigning each person a letter, search ‘printable letters’ online to find some free templates that you can email everyone. Ask them to print it off at a specific size and orientation, such as A4 portrait, and color the letter in (you might want to tell everyone which color and whether to use crayon or marker etc).
  • Words: if you’re giving each person a word, prepare the signs yourself in a program such as Word or PowerPoint so that you can control the font and size of each word. Then just email to each person and ask them to print.
  • Position: I’d suggest asking everyone to take full length photos, which you can then crop down to size later. Tell them where they should hold the sign. In front of their chests works well, if you intend to crop around waist height.
  • Orientation:have everyone take their photos in landscape mode, allowing plenty of empty background on either side of them and above. This gives you the option to crop to square, portrait or landscape when creating your collage later.
  • Resolution:most smartphones nowadays take high resolution images but remind people to check their settings are on the highest possible resolution before taking their photos.
  • Sending:a large hi-resolution image might be difficult for people to email to you. If so, tell them to use a free online service such as WeTransfer.com

4. Create your collage

Once you have your individual images use your computer’s photo software, such as Microsoft Photos to crop them all to your chosen orientation: square, portrait, or landscape – depending on what works best for the ratio of your chosen gift. Then upload to one of the many free online collage makers, such as photocollage.com

On the photocollage.com site, under the ‘Collage’ drop down menu, first select the ratio for your chosen gift that you established in step 1 (i.e 1:1 for square or 4:3/16:9 for landscape). Then, if you want a grid-style collage, just hit ‘Auto collage’ and drag to rearrange into the correct order. The best way to add white or black grid lines to separate each photo is to choose ‘Set background’ from the ‘Collage’ drop down menu and select white or black from the color palate. Then click on each image one at a time and pinch in the top right and bottom left hand corners. You’ll just need to align them carefully to ensure the gaps between each image are all the same width.

If you’re creating a free-form collage just drag your photos onto the canvas and position or size accordingly. Remember, you’ll need to set a background pattern or colour – even if it’s just black or white – from the ‘Collage’ drop down menu to fill in the gaps between each photo. You can also play around with adding borders to each individual image using the ‘More’ drop down menu in the top left corner of your collage.

Once you’re happy with the layout, from the ‘File’ drop-down select ‘Save in high resolution’ to save the collage to your computer. Then upload this image to Photobox and apply to your chosen gift.

Collage Canvas

Illustrations, layouts, background colours… Let your creativity run wild with a Collage Canvas.

Photo Coasters

Relive your best moments every time you have a drink – cheers!

Simple Mug

Put one of your favourite photos on a mug – plain and simple.

Collage posters

Put up all of your favourite shots in the spotlight with a supersized collage poster.

Box Framed Prints

Add depth to your creation with a 48 mm deep frame and make your snap take centre stage.

Wooden Photo Panels

Turn your best snaps into wooden works of art.

Acrylic Prints

Give your photos some serious wow-factor with an acrylic print that makes colours truly pop.

Aluminium Mounted Prints

Get your photos printed directly onto aluminium for a modern alternative to a traditional print.

If you love word play, you probably know that a word — or longer piece of writing — that reads the same forward and backward is called a palindrome. But what do you call a word that spells another word backwards, or a word that looks the same upside down? When terms for these orthographic puzzlers didn’t exist, logolologists (such as the authors of the books listed below) were happy to invent some. Here are a few:

1. Isogram
A word in which no letter of the alphabet occurs more than once. Dimitri Borgmann’s longest example: dermatoglyphics, the study of skin markings or patterns on fingers, hands, and feet, and its application, especially in criminology.

2. Pangram
A phrase or sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet (ideally repeating as few letters as possible). You may remember this one from typing class: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy sleeping dog,” but Willard Espy came up with a shorter and more interesting one: “Bawds jog, flick quartz, vex nymphs.” An abundance of pangrams, using some very obscure words or initials can be found here.

3. Palindrome
A word, sentence, or longer written work that reads the same backwards. Example: A declaration facetiously attributed to Napoleon, “Able was I ere I saw Elba.” Weird Al Yankovic’s song “Bob” spoofs Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” using a slew of palindromes. Need more palindromes? Find a huge stash here.

4. Semordnilap
A word or name that spells a different word backwards (notice what semordnilap spells backwards). Semordnilaps (coined by Martin Gardner in 1961) are also known as backronyms, volvograms, heteropalindromes, semi-palindromes, half-palindromes, reversgrams, mynoretehs, recurrent palindromes, reversible anagrams, word reversals, or anadromes. (Do you get the feeling that fans of word play love to make up words?) Here’s a semordnilap dieters can relate to: Stressed is desserts backwards.

5. Kangaroo word or marsupial
This refers to a word carrying another word within it (without transposing any letters). Example: encourage contains courage, cog, cur, urge, core, cure, nag, rag, age, nor, rage and enrage. Ouch! That mama roo is going to need a pouchlift after carrying around that brood!

6. Lipogram
A written work composed of words chosen to avoid the use of one or more letters. You may hail F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby as great, but in 1939 Ernest Vincent Wright produced the phenomenal Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the letter “E,” a scarcely believable achievement considering that “E” is the most common letter in English. Imagine an entire novel without he, she, the, or the past tense marker —ed.

7. Rebus
A representation of words with pictures, letter names, or symbols that suggest the sound of the words. Rebus has been used in English since 1605, when William Camden wrote, “They which lackt wit to expresse their conceit in speech, did vse to depaint it out… in pictures, which they called Rebus.” Popular in autograph books and on vanity license plates, rebuses include such classics as:

YYUR; YYUB. ICUR YY4me
NE1410S
4 A _ I 8 0

(The solutions are below.)

8. Tautonym
David Grambs uses this term for a word or name made up of two identical parts, such as so-so, tom-tom or Pago Pago.

9. Anagram
A word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The English word anagram goes back to 1589. Grambs uses the word transposal in this general sense, and anagram more narrowly to mean a transposal of letters resulting in synonymous term. Others call these particularly apt anagrams “aptigrams.” For example: Villainousness is an anagram of “an evil soul’s sin.”

10. Antigram
The opposite of an aptigram, these words or phrases form antonyms when rearranged. Examples: violence — nice, love; funeral — real fun.

11. Ambigram
A term coined by John Langdon for words made to look the same when inverted with the help of calligraphy. Willard Espy calls a word that looks the same upside down an invertogram and Schaaf calls a number like that strobogrammatic. Examples: NOON, SWIMS, SIS; 1881, 1961, 91016.

Rebus solutions:
Too wise you are; too wise you be. I see you are too wise for me.
Anyone for tennis?
For a long period I ate next to nothing.

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