If sharing your top nine most popular photos wasn’t enough, now you can look back on the colors of your year with a new web app that creates a mosaic out of the colors in your Instagram photos. The app, Year of Colour, takes your snapshots of events and moments and distills them into an abstract time capsule of colored dots.
Stef Lewandowski, a venture builder based in London, built the web app in his spare time after being inspired by his wife, Emily Quinton. Quinton runs a company called Makelight that, among other things, helps people improve their Instagram presence to coax more people into pressing that “follow” button. “If you look consistent, and there’s good quality, people press that button,” Lewandowski told The Verge.
He thought a data visualization tool might be able to help with that: “Maybe there’s a way of using some AI, some machine vision and bit of big data crunching — all those buzzwords — and apply it to something that’s quite human,” he says. That is, answering the question of “how do I look on the internet if you just looked at it through the lens of the color palettes that you’re sharing.”
To use it, go to yearofcolour.com and log in with your Instagram account. (The app’s privacy information is front and center on the login page, and says that Lewandowski can’t see your password.) The app only works for your own Instagram accounts; due to rules implemented by Instagram, you can’t use it to figure out, say, the color palette of Kim Kardashian’s posts. “It’s a shame we can’t do, that but I completely understand it from a privacy point of view,” Lewandowski says.
You pick a time frame, and the app sorts through your most-liked Instagram posts — and spits out a data visualization of the colors in your top 100. The app reduces each image into between six and nine colors, and creates a pattern of dots that vary in size based on how much of a given color is in an image, and how much your followers like it. For example, if your most-liked post was of an orange sunset, the app might spit out a color palette with a gigantic orange dot. “It’s a combination of attention and content,” Lewandowski says.
There are also handful of sliders and dials that let you tweak how your report looks; you can limit the number of dots based on popularity, for example, or filter out the dull, non-vibrant colors. Other buttons pull the brightest dots to the center, or organize the circles by when the photos were taken: January 2018 goes to the center, and the circles radiate out so that colors from December 2018 populate the edges. The result is lovely, and Lewandowski will soon let people purchase prints.
The best feature, however, can’t be captured in a print. Press the playthrough button, and you can see how colors changed across your year — an abstract slide slideshow of moments in 2018. “It’s not just the colors that come through,” Lewandowski says. “It’s the memories of what those colors mean.”