Creating Your Visual Online Identity


We’ve written before about the importance of personal branding for the web worker. But there’s one piece of that brand that’s been growing in importance, yet is often ignored: your avatar.

In blog comments, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Skype, in instant messenger clients (the list goes on) the first impression that many people will get of your identity is through the tiny image that you choose for yourself. People who have already established their own logos and branding can just go with those; many others opt for the cell phone or MacBook photo. But there are plenty of other choices for getting a distinctive or customized avatar. Here’s a roundup of some of your options.ScreenshotMyPictr is an online photo editor. Upload your photo and it lets you crop, zoom, and then download the results. The nicest thing about this service is that it already has the dimensions for many popular sites built right in, so it helps you crop to an image that will display without distortion.

ScreenshotAt the high end of the market, you can take a look at Iconize Me! This service, run by a few professional caricature artists, lets you send in a photo that they then redraw into a custom icon. You’ll pay $40-50 for this.

ScreenshotYahoo! has their own avatar maker, designed for use with their IM service. Of course, you can always take a screenshot of your creation there and use it anywhere.

ScreenshotDoppelMe is a generalized online avatar builder. It walks you through a series of menus to pick clothing and accessories and hair and so on, and presents you with a picture built up from these parts. The results are more cartoony than realistic, and the service is free.

ScreenshotScreenshotScreenshotIf you want to go the pop culture route, there are actually two different Simpsons avatar makers, the Mini-Mizer (which lets you create yourself as a Lego minifig), or the South Park avatar maker.

Have you put any effort into creating your own avatars? How did you go about it?



I’m still searching for something that’ll make 8-bit NES-looking avatars…

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