What’s the Story Behind Your Avatar?

For many people, your blog or website is an extension of you. Various elements of your site, from its name and tagline to the design touches, combine to create a cohesive snapshot of who you are. And your profile image, or avatar, is no exception: it represents you online — on your site, in the Reader, next to your comments on blogs, and on other services across the web. Here, five people explain why they chose their avatars.

Terah Van Dusen, words + pictures

As a writer, I don’t care to blast my face all over the internet. I display a photograph of myself in my blog bio and also use social media like Facebook and Instagram, but I am wary of what I am really trying to say when I post “shameless selfies.” Because I am human, and because I am a modern woman, shameless selfies do happen. But they don’t make me feel as significant as when I share a deep, personal story online — that is what being a writer is all about.

I chose the mermaid tail as a symbol of femininity and elegance and nothing more. I suppose I didn’t want my avatar to give any clues away, or if it did, very little. I certainly didn’t want people to see that I am “too old” or “too young” or not relevant to them. We make snap decisions when we see a face, whether we want to or not. I wanted my avatar to be nondescript. Forgettable, so that my words might stand out. The beautiful thing is that people can get a sense of me, personally, privately, through my words.

Fiona Verdouw, extra | ordinary

Since I blog about my paintings, it seemed appropriate to use my painting signature as my avatar, since this is the one visually consistent element on the whole site.

I designed it in black and white because it stands out well online, and won’t clash with or interfere with any of the images on my site. This is important, because I want my artwork to be the “hero” — not my photo, or any other generated image or icon.

I have plans to expand my site to sell my paintings, and I think something simple — that always points back to me, the artist and writer of the content — would be the most flexible and relevant image as both my work and site grow in the future.

Courtney Hardy, Party Hardy

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My avatar photo was taken at the Paul Smith wall in Los Angeles, a very popular spot for bloggers and Instagrammers. I had just dyed my hair a pink-rose gold color, and what better way to show off my new pink hair than in front of a bright pink wall? The jumpsuit is from Madewell, and I love the simple geo print. I think my avatar represents my style well, plus the bright background is attention-grabbing and memorable, which is exactly what you want in a profile image.

Leslie White, Leslie Paints

I, as an artist, believe the most available subject we have to paint is ourselves. I draw and paint myself frequently. My self-portraits all look different, but each one has a semblance of me. I painted this portrait in 2007, and I still think it’s the best option for an avatar because it looks like I am engaged in listening to someone.

Hudson Biko, Pieced By HB

My blog is a platform of self-expression. A space where parts of me come together to form something that’s slowly forming itself. I wanted my avatar to represent that.

So I picked up a piece of paper and a black pen and just drew. Drew again and again and again. Picked up a third piece. Drew. And even though I’m in no way an artist, I loved the freedom of constructing my own representation.

Twenty or so sketches later, I pulled out my phone and took a picture. It was imperfect, personal, and uninhibited. But in many ways it was what my blog and I were, and I loved that.

Feeling inspired? Change your avatar at wordpress.com/me.

November 2, 2017Identity, Inspiration, ,