Shakespeare's Sonnets Illustrated as Abstract Signatures


Just how different were all of Shakespeare’s sonnets? See for yourself. In the latest of his posters visualizing famous literature as data, Chicago-based artist Nicholas Rougeux took Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets and turned them into graphic signatures. The resulting squiggles, one for each poem, become abstract visualizations of the letters used.

Here’s how Rougeux describes the process:

Each line of a sonnet was assigned a point with coordinates on a graph based on the number of letters used excluding punctuation (x axis) and the average value of the letters excluding punctuation (y axis). Average value was calculated using a simple formula (a=1 + b=2 + c=3 + …) then dividing by the number of letters in the line. All the points were then connected with a sweeping exaggerated stroke based on the order of the lines in the sonnet (1 to 2 to 3, etc).

Of course, it’s a little easier to see than explain:

Click to enlarge

You probably don’t recognize your favorite sonnet in this form, and that's kind of the point. “The signatures are not meant to assign meaning but to inspire others to think about them differently than before,” Rougeux explains.

Posters of individual sonnets or all 154 go for $28.

[h/t Huffington Post]

All images courtesy Nicholas Rougeux