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Now, you can use generative placeholder images for your web project

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Featuring designs inspired by Joy Division and Piet Mondrian

The tool can be used to generate art in various styles, including the abstract artist Piet Mondrian.
Image: Generative Placeholder

Generative Placeholders is a new tool that lets you embed autogenerated placeholder art into a website that changes with every page refresh. It only requires a brief bit of embedded code. The key word here is “placeholder,” which suggests that the tool’s creator, Stefan Bohacek, sees it as the visual equivalent of a Lorem Ipsum text generator (or the far superior Hipster Ipsum), designed to fill a prototype website with something while it’s under construction.

The code works by specifying how tall and wide a placeholder image should be, and it also lets you tweak the style and color of each image. There are eight different styles available, ranging from geometric layouts of circles or triangles to designs that are inspired by existing works of art like Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover (embedded below) or the abstract art of Piet Mondrian (above). You can also tweak other settings, such as color palette and pattern density.

(Note: Refresh the page to see the image regenerate.)

Before you set about filling your own site with autogenerated images, you should know that the copyright rules surrounding machine-generated works are still emerging. When it comes to music, US law is struggling to deal with art that’s not created by humans, and there are arguments that copyright can belong to either the human that created the AI, the AI itself, or even the public domain. For what it’s worth, Generative Placeholders is provided under the MIT License, which generally only places limited restrictions on how you can use the software.

You can check out how to implement the images on the project’s webpage.

Update January 24th, 11:11AM ET: Updated to include generative placeholder image.