Karl Ward

A text message replacement app that turns words into images, allowing you to create your own visual language and share it with the people around you


Ish is a mobile messaging app that sends and receives short messages where the words are translated into user-created images. The app learns its vocabulary not just by the images you create, but also by gathering words and images used by people you communicate with. You might decide that the word “village” should be a picture of Washington Square, so you snap a picture of the arch and associate it with the word “village.” This makes sense to you and the people near you, though someone who lives in Maine might instead choose a picture of their village hall. This is decentralized visual language, where people can define their own languages, share them, and use them to communicate.