The Big Word Project
26th March 2008
Challenging the dictionary by redefining what words can mean, The Big Word Project - www.thebigwordproject.com - has captured the imagination of bloggers all over the world.
A collaboration by two students on the University of Ulster’s new Masters in Multidisciplinary Design, the project has snowballed after a popular blog featured it recently.
Only three days after it launched, the project by Paddy Donnelly and Lee Munroe - who both graduated with first class honours degrees in BS Interactive Multimedia Design from Ulster in 2007 - grew exponentially after Daring Fireball highlighted it on its website.
Paddy says: “We had to sit up all night answering emails when it appeared on Daring Fireball. We were getting so many suggestions for words to add to the website that we just couldn't keep up with it”.
Lee added: “We wanted to explore what different words mean to different people and created a website which allows you to purchase a word from the dictionary to represent your website. The project is aimed at changing definitions and creating a new tapestry of words, meaningaltogether different things.”
The project is already proving hugely successful as thousands of people snap up words for only a dollar a letter. Some of the first words to go include: nerd, donkey and discombobulation. These words then link to the buyer's website, redefining what that word means on The Big Word Project. People have been choosing words that mean something special to them and linking them to photographs on Flickr, whilst companies like Lego and MGM have been buying words related to their businesses.
Paddy, a web designer, is currently researching Viral Marketing, looking at how information is spread through word of mouth and the internet and how certain things can become phenomena overnight. Lee has been freelancing in web design and development for several years and is now concentrating his studies on web usability and web applications.
“We wanted a project that would explore our new skills that we have developed on our Masters course combining viral marketing with web applications. One day we thought 'Why don't we just sell the words of the dictionary?” says Lee.
Paddy added: “The project is aimed at website owners who wish to have a specific word associated with them, but you can also link to your Bebo, Myspace or Facebook page if you do not have a website.”
It has become quite popular recently to buy the words as gifts for other people, linking to their website, Bebo page or a Flickr photograph.
The Masters in Multidisciplinary Design, which started this year at the Ulster’s Belfast campus, was introduced in response to continuing changes in contemporary design practice. It challenges the perceived boundaries between the many and various recognised art and design disciplines.
The course seeks to establish an environment in which "creative, self-motivated practitioners from a diverse array of design backgrounds, with different methodologies, can experience a cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches to the design process".
In just over a week, the project has sold over 2,000 words and continues to be featured on blogs all over the Internet. You can follow their progress with The Big Word Project ontheir blog at: blog.thebigwordproject.com or visit the website at: www.thebigwordproject.com