File Under: Visual Design, Web Basics

Get Inspired by These Social Network Avatars

How many times have you joined a new social site and not immediately uploaded a picture to represent you? Probably more than you can count. So you know the feeling of making your way around sites while looking like every new user, with a default avatar.

If you’re planning on creating a site that lets users upload a photo, check our collection of default avatars to give you inspiration… or maybe tell you what not to do.

Who’s that shadowy figure?

Shadow style avatars

A popular choice for default avatars is to include the outline of a person without many details. In some cases, the head is completely round. Not the sort of attribute I would want to have. Maybe they’re encouraging users to change?

Avatars above from: Clipmarks, Diigo, Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon, and YouTube

Did a child draw that?

Simple face avatars

Another common choice, the dotted eyes and lined mouth, really tells users there’s not much use remaining anonymous. But I’m a pretty big fan of the one on the right.

Avatars above from: Flickr, Pownce, Twitter, and Webmonkey.

Give the user a choice

Unthirsty avatars

How cool is this? Happy hour site Unthirsty lets new users choose from among eight inebriated characters, as well as the option to upload your own image. It’s a low barrier to looking a little different than most everyone else. If many users aren’t going to upload a pic anyway, why make them suffer?

Frighten the user into uploading a pic

Mike Tyson avatarOf course, maybe you want them to suffer? Social betting side BetArcade chooses this particularly heinous picture of Mike Tyson as its default avatar. As embarrassing as it is to be seen as a newb, it’s even worse when you’re clicking around looking like Mike Tyson.

What are your favorite avatars?

We probably missed your favorite site’s default avatar. Is it good? Is it terrible? Tell us all about it in the comments.

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