Cool images for local users, contacts and conversations.


AllanDay, JakubSteiner

Relevant Art


http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/00000000000000000000000000000000?d=identicon http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/00000000000000000000000000000000?d=monsterid http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/00000000000000000000000000000000?d=wavatar http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/00000000000000000000000000000000?d=retro


http://static1.robohash.org/ALW.png?set=set1&size=150x150 http://static1.robohash.org/47Q.png?set=set1&size=150x150 http://static1.robohash.org/DA1.png?set=set1&size=150x150

See https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=655117

The Vash





Libravatar is like Gravatar, but free and federated (for those who want to run their own instance).

https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/40f8d096a3777232204cb3f796c577b7.jpg?d=identicon https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/40f8d096a3777232204cb3f796c577b7.jpg?d=monsterid https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/40f8d096a3777232204cb3f796c577b7.jpg?d=wavatar https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/40f8d096a3777232204cb3f796c577b7.jpg?d=retro

API is similar to Grvatar: http://wiki.libravatar.org/api/


Stock avatars:


Default avatar:

avatar-default.png avatar-default-symbolic.png


Potential relevant areas:

  • Images for local user accounts
  • Images for contacts
  • Images for chats

Potential goals:

  • Ensure that conversations in the message tray each have a distinct icon (see message tray refresh proposal). This may include conversations happening on rooms or channels.

  • Where possible, automatically pull avatars from online services.
  • Provide a nice set of avatars for personalisation purposes (or maybe that's not necessary if we're going to generate pictures?)

Do we want to aim for a particular minimum size?

A summary of the discussion on IRC:

  • These issues are dependent on how avatar images are exposed. The contacts and new message tray designs both make heavy use of avatar images, which in turn creates the avatar problem. But are these images required? Maybe text-based identifiers are all we need for the contacts list and the message tray?
    • We should remember that contacts and chats will be displayed in activities overview search. --AllanDay

  • What role do user profile pictures play? They are exposed in multi-user environments, but they aren't really useful on single user systems.
    • There's a potential tie-in with chat here - a profile image is important for chat, since it is an indication of how the user is displaying themselves to others. --AllanDay

  • In the contacts scenario, automatically generated pictures might not be useful - they're never distinct enough to enable identification.
    • However, the image could communicate something about the contact. They could indicate the type of contact (eg. friend/work/family/business), but then how would those types be assigned?
    • Alternatively, in the absence of a profile image, the contact's avatar could be assigned according to the data we have about that contact. Contacts with just a phone number could be given a phone image, for example.


  • Revamp system default avatars with something simple and formal.

    • The avatar should be colorful, to integrate with custom avatars and stand in contrast to the grey background.
    • The avatars should be more formal, but still distinguishable from each other when more users are present on the system.
    • The avatar is always presented on a dark background (login screen) and is most often seen after booting, at unlocking or after resuming from a suspension.
    • The avatars should help distinguish the users from each other. If no avatar is set by the user, we let the system pick a random one, so the user's account still distinguishes itself from others and has something easily identifiable.
  • Generate personal avatars for contacts in Empathy and others.

    • The generated avatar is a unique identity based on the contact's name/e-mail. It should make it easier to find the right avatar when scrolling through a list of a dozen contacts.
    • Because they should be unique and personal, the avatars should contrast each other through vibrant colors and unpredictable lines, like custom avatars do.
    • They should work on both light and dark background.

Tentative Design

System Avatars

For system avatars the symbolic motives used already at the GNOME website, with a colorful background.

stock-avatar1.png stock-avatar3.png system-avatars.png

Svg file can be downloaded here: system-avatars.svg

Generated Contact List Avatars

For generated contact list avatars, the initials are rendered with Journal font and cropped within a 48*48px bright/dark bordered square.


Below, some visual guidelines are described for generating the avatar visuals with examples mae using Inkscape.


See also generated-avatars-visuals.tar.gz.


  • Gravatar has the benefit of these generated avatars being a fallback. People customize their online identity themselves, but for people who don't, you get this fallback. Support for this is transparent and completely free. Am a big fan of the retro generated avatars. -- JakubSteiner

See Also

Design areas:

Other bugs:

Design/OS/Avatars (last edited 2014-06-18 14:21:43 by BastianIlsø)