Plumb Design Launches New Visual Thesaurus

Beyond Synonyms, a World of Words Revealed

New York, October 9, 2002 —Plumb Design, Inc., unveils the latest version of its Visual Thesaurus (, the widely popular application that creates spatial maps of relationships among words and their many meanings. An experiment in language and design, Plumb Design's Visual Thesaurus is an artistic exploration of the subtleties of language, and a dynamic tool to analyze the structure of words and meaning.

The Visual Thesaurus 2.0 moves beyond strictly synonyms to display and animate connections among word definitions, multiple word meanings, and even antonyms. A user can broaden and narrow search interactively by selecting parts of speech or type of relationship among the words displayed. Color, shape, and roll-over displays enhance both the usefulness and beauty of its visual representation of the English language. The Visual Thesaurus 2.0 provides guidance and inspiration for anyone interested in words and conversation-writers, professionals, and students.

In 1998, the first Visual Thesaurus became an instant online classic for its information design and innovative use of technology. The Visual Thesaurus has been described as one of the most original and useful online experiments by The New York Times, Wired, the New Yorker, CNN, and many others.

To celebrate the 5-year anniversary of the company, New York-based Plumb Design decided to take a fresh look at the Visual Thesaurus and its underlying WordNet database that was originally developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University.

Marc Tinkler, Plumb Design's CTO explains, "We knew all along that the Visual Thesaurus was only utilizing a portion of the enormous resources in the WordNet database and so we sought ways to better explore the depths of this information while maintaining the application's simplicity and elegance. The new Visual Thesaurus unlocks the complexities in our language and visually shows how and why words are related."

Visual Thesaurus 2.0 provides a fascinating display of the connections and the structure of our language. Like a traditional thesaurus, users find related words and their uses. Yet in the Visual Thesaurus, they also learn why words are related, and can explore connections in an interactive, three-dimensional representation.

The Visual Thesaurus clusters words around shared meanings and offers example sentences for using a word with that meaning. The result is an engaging online experience where users find the meanings of words, discover new ones, and learn through the process of their exploration.

The application was created using Plumb Design's Thinkmap® visualization software, a technology designed to unleash the power of connected information. Thinkmap reveals interrelationships obscured by conventional methods of navigation and information display, and empowers businesses and non-profit organizations to identify invaluable connections in their intellectual holdings, enterprise research, or market data.

About Plumb Design

In February 1998, Plumb Design launched the first project that used it's proprietary Thinkmap® software. Thinkmap applications have been built for Bacardi, the Smithsonian Institution, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Sony Music, and other leading companies.

In April 1999, Plumb Design sold a minority interest in the company to German-based GFT Technologies, AG, a fast-growing Internet systems integrator whose clients include Deutsche Post, Siemens, and Deutsche Bank.

In November 2000, Plumb Design received an equity investment from Motorola Ventures, the strategic venture capital investment arm of Motorola, Inc., a global leader in providing integrated communication solutions and embedded electronic solutions.