The Ideal Gravatar


Gravatars

Gravatars

Gravatars

I have been noticing experiments with new gravatars lately, and it has given food for thought.

What attributes should a good gravatar have?

1) It should be distinctive.

2) It should reflect something about the blog or blogger, or the persona the blogger would like to project.

3) It should not have too much detail, which becomes lost in the small version shown in comments.

4) It should have bold colours and contrasts.

5) It should be selected with care, and then kept forever.

 Why?

 1) One likes to recognise friends on sight, new or old. If they change their hairstyle, for example, this should be for an improvement, but still leave them looking familiar.

 2) There should be a reminder of what that blog or blogger is all about.

 3) Often, something which looks wonderful in full size looks entirely different when compressed.  A bird in flight can look like a funny face, for example.

 4) Washed-out faces, in particular, tend to look similar to one another when shrunk.

 5) Having an entirely different persona suddenly appearing spoils all the associations one has built up – perhaps over a long period.

Many of the above overlap, but I still think it is useful to consider them as separate points.

If I consider my own under these headings, I remain satisfied with it. It is instantly recognisable, it gives the rather cheeky and enquiring image I think is appropriate, one can see it for what it is, the contrasts are enough to make it stand out, and it has only changed over the years by having a blurring background of greenery removed.

Do you agree?  How do you feel yours would rate under these criteria?  Are there any other rules which it would be a good idea to apply?

I had thought of using some examples, but that might make many miffed.  Therefore, I will only do it by invitation.  Some of those I’ve seen only need improved clarity, and others would benefit from some judicious cropping. If anyone would like my opinion on their avatar/gravatar, they have only to ask!

The picture shows a random selection, simply snatched from recent comments.

 Colonialist March 2014 (WordPress)
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About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
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59 Responses to The Ideal Gravatar

  1. I love my avatar. It tells people where I would like to be, even if I’m not there at the moment. 😀

    Like

  2. Ruth2Day says:

    you are completely right about choosing the correct avatar to fit a pesona. What do you think of mine then?

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  3. Oh well, mine is me, so that’s it.

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  4. Grannymar says:

    Ok, go on do your worst, but be honest.

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  5. bluebee says:

    Fill the frame, and be distinctive: yours does both.

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  6. cobbies69 says:

    A coat of arms does me for the moment. 😉

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  7. Shame you could not use one of your dreadful puns as a gravatar!

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  8. optie says:

    Interesting post Col, I’m happy with my gravatar. It suggests someone who is perceptive, thoughtful and hopefully intelligent, something I aspire to be when I grow up 😉

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  9. Sonel says:

    Some bloggers just have that knack to create great gravatars. I don’t fall into that category at all and never cared much about it either. Maybe because I don’t want to stand out. 😛

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    • colonialist says:

      It still does, in a way …

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      • Sonel says:

        hahahahah … ‘in a way’ sounds like it yes. What would you suggest? I never gave much thought to this gravatar thingies and what you said makes lot of sense. 😀

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        • colonialist says:

          First of all, I have to confess that I have a sort of handicap in making out some pictures. I tend to see things in them that others don’t, or I fail to recognise some things in them that don’t give others a problem.. Thus, with your present one (though not with the one you had before it) when it comes to the small format I lose recognition of the dog and the face by having a tendency to combine them.When I do make out the face, I see the dog as being hands folded in front of it.

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          • Sonel says:

            heheheheh, sounds quite funny the way you see it Col and to be quite honest, I never look much at gravatars. I do see it but it doesn’t really ‘connect’ with me if you know what I mean. I guess it’s because I am not that into looks where people are concerned or as what or who they like to present themselves. As for combining the dog and the face, you can combine us anytime. LOL!

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  10. I can see that my gravatar pic fails by many of your criteria, but am reluctant to change it. I haven’t daltered that much in the five years or so since I took this selfie to use on my OU profile.

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  11. adeeyoyo says:

    This is the only one I have had and I agree with your reasons for keeping it the same. Originally I tried a photo of my two dogs ‘kissing’ but became confused halfway through and this one won by default although I now realise that the other was too detailed for the thumbnails,

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  12. misswhiplash says:

    You can do what you like with my gravTar…it would be interesting to see the changes

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  13. Pussycat44 says:

    I think my gravatar is ok. It goes with my blog name and shows that I am a real pussycat for most of the time, but wishing I could be strong like a lion sometimes.

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  14. nrhatch says:

    Like you, I haven’t changed my blog layout or my avatar since I started blogging. If I’m scrolling down a long thread of comments, I can spot it easily.

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  15. Buffy says:

    That interesting! I was thinking of changing mine today, but I thought then people would not recognize me! You make good points!

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  16. Leanne Cole says:

    You have made some great points there Colonialist, I did mine a couple of years ago and what I wanted more than anything was for it to stand out and be recognised as me. I think it worked, and people have told me it has. I use it as my brand now. It is on all my social media, except my personal facebook page.

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  17. suzicate says:

    Interesting, I hadn’t really thought about it before. I think I need to update mine since my pic is probably four years old. Since mine is a photo I guess I’m recognizable.

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  18. calmgrove says:

    Good analysis, Col, and the gravatar selection in reducing dimensions underline your points about efficacy and distinctiveness. I like to think my unicorn in a warning triangle fulfills all your criteria, but I would, wouldn’t I? However, if there was a competition, yours would win hands down…

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  19. I tried to choose one that really does look like me………although the picture is several years old. I wonder if my current gravatar is too kind to me at the moment. Ha.

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  20. Arkenaten says:

    Which is why The Ark fits the bill. 😉

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  21. disperser says:

    I probably liked my Zombie-Look gravatar the best, but the current wolf-head better matches the blog (the name, not the content or blogger).

    I currently match all criteria but #4 (I think – others might not agree).

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  22. Tom Merriman says:

    I’ve gone through thousands – no, hundreds – OK, tens of gravatars, Col, trying to find the one that I’m happy with. The current one is the one I’m most happy with, although I still need to tweak the colours… I think it will always be a work in motion. As long as they are easily identifiable, I’m happy… and I do quite like it when one changes from time to time – keeps things fresh.

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      Yours is certainly distinctive enough. Perhaps colours to present more contrast?
      I have traditionalist inclinations, so I prefer my blogging friends to stay instantly recognisable. Changes confuse me. For the same reason, I have kept my original layout.

      Like

      • Tom Merriman says:

        Ah… I’m also always trying to find the ‘right’ theme as well so my blog may not look anything like it did the last time. I’ll settle one day though, I must! It’s quite a hassle constantly changing things…

        Like

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