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In Need of a New Avatar

EBFor about a year or so I've used the old Rivet icon ((What's up with the new one?)) as my "avatar" in a lot of places. It was an icon I was proud of, as the idea for the software, the name, the icon, and so on were my own. If you didn't know what it was, it still looked like a computer's power button, which said something. It had depth, but was simple enough that it could be reduced to a favicon (this site). It was pretty good.

But now that Rivet's been sold, I no longer feel right using its icon as an avatar, so I'm looking at other options.

In the past year or so, where I felt like I needed to use my face (say, on Twitter), I've used my stupid Xbox Live avatar. Yes, that's as dumb as it sounds. On forums I've used a variety of things: at The Sand Trap I've used a picture of Sidney Crosby for a few months. At a photography site, I've used an over-saturated image of a basketball hoop (this one).

I'd like to consolidate my "avatars." I'd like an image I can use everywhere, and one that represents "me."

First thing's first: I don't have any good pictures of myself. Not any I like, anyway. I've always had a high hairline (lots of forehead) and not much of a chin. If I were to use an avatar, I'd want it to look like me but like a slightly better looking version of me than really exists. But maybe that's just my low appearance self-esteem again… 😉

But anyway, I'm the guy taking the pictures, not the guy in the pictures. I have two family portraits in which I look okay, but I only have wallet sized photos. I could probably take a decent shot of myself - and I'm not opposed to doing that - but the whole point of using an image would be to run it through a service like Paul Sahner's Iconize Me pen and ink style. I wouldn't ever use an actual photo - but a "fun" caricature wouldn't be so bad. I've even been tempted to use my Mii, like some others, I just don't think it'll scale like I'd want ((Iconize Me gives you a vector-based PDF file you can use however you'd like.)).

Truth be told, my first option is a bit more complex than paying a guy $60 to make a caricature of me. That idea is to come up with some kind of "icon" or symbol ((And yes, as I type that, I also think of Prince, but that's not the idea…)) to represent me. That's tricky: how in the heck can I choose one icon to represent me? Of the things for which I'm known (or hope to known) for online and in "meat world," those things include:

  • Computers/Technology (specifically "the web" and "Apple-related tech").
  • Golf (via The Sand Trap .com and as my favorite hobby).
  • Photography (another of my biggest hobbies and soon "professionally").

Walking StickI thought of doing a few things towards this "symbol" angle, but most of them boiled down to macro shots of various things, which I then decided was stupid as one object can't really represent me. I also thought of something like taking a series of pictures of my MacBook keyboard and dimming everything but the "E" "R" "I" and "K" keys, but that wouldn't scale well and it'd probably look dumb anyway (if the keys were closer together, maybe…).

So if one photo or one object isn't going to represent who I am, then what? Next in line - a simple icon of sorts. The "command" symbol found on Mac keyboards might be cool if it wasn't already taken (plus it represents "campground" in Sweden IIRC, so…?). But something like that sounds good. Red Cross is known by the + sign. Sebastiaan uses a rainbow, which is generic enough (but not my taste), but I also like the mobius strip-style logo he has on his branding page.

Symbols exist everywhere. The crossing symbol is simple enough, but too generic - it's just some dude (without hands) walking. ((I'm using it (temporarily) for my golf avatar, though.)) Barack Obama made a symbol out of his name, so typography may be an avenue ("E" and "B" line up well together, as seen well above). I'm known everywhere as "iacas" as well, so perhaps something with that?

Or maybe I ditch all of that and have someone draw me a Brainy Smurf icon? That was a nickname of mine for quite awhile in grade school. It was not one I was particularly fond of, but that was a long time ago and I do think intelligence is one of my "core" strengths.


I was hoping I'd think of something in writing this out, but I'm still right where I started: with no clue what I'm going to do.

P.S. Messing around more with this idea:


They're not bad. Not great either.

Another possibility: the FSS Orange. Meh. Good. Not great.

5 Responses to "In Need of a New Avatar"

  1. Think of something that represents a quality required by tech/SW development, golf, and photography, like patience or dedication. Then find some sort of representation of that, like the Chinese or Japanese symbol for one of those.

  2. Walking StickFor the time being, I've settled on the icon that should appear to the right here (and, if gravatar updates quickly, next to my name as well). It's the guy crossing the street, but he's holding a MacBook Pro and a golf club.

    Update: OK, gravatar is a bit behind in catching up with this stuff. Supposedly it takes 5-10 minutes. We'll see. 😛

  3. The command symbol does not represent campground in Sweden, it is used as a road sign where there is something worth seeing - also known as a tourist attraction.

  4. My favorite traffic sign can be seen here:

  5. I like the left "EJB" logo, but would have the bottom of the J covering the E.