Beyond the Logo: Avatars and Favicons in Social Media

Avatars and favicons are two very important branding elements common on the web and social media. Used properly they will make your blogs and social media profiles more memorable and easier to recognize.

What Is a Favicon?

A favicon is a small graphic element that identifies your site or blog in a web browser’s address bar, favorites menu and tabs. A file called ‘favicon.ico’, uploaded in the root directory of a site, is invoked by using the following code in the site’s style sheet:

<link REL=”SHORTCUT ICON” href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/favicon.ico”>

In WordPress, the favicon code is located in the header.php file.

To create a favicon you can use an online favicon generator. Simply, upload the picture you want to use and convert it to .ico format. Name the resulting file ‘favicon.ico’ and upload it to the root directory of your site or blog.

A favicon is traditionally only 16×16 pixels but you will need larger files if you want your favicon to appear in high resolution on various modern smartphones and devices, as well as 4K monitors.

Normally, you want to use a portion of your logo, so that a visual connection between your logo and your favicon is easily established.

What Is an Avatar?

An avatar is an image, usually square-shaped, used to identify people and companies in social media profiles. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. all offer the option to upload an avatar.

Avatars can tell a lot about the people who use them. On discussion forums, some people use a cartoon or anime picture, others an animal or a symbol, and yet others opt for using the logo of their company. I, however, am of the opinion that it is better to use your actual picture.

Social media sites are all about people who want to connect with other people. If you’re serious about social media and you stand behind your brand and what you post online, using your picture will give you more credibility.

For maximum branding effect, use the same image across all social media sites. That way, people will recognize you across different networks. Branding is all about repetition and consistency.

McDonald’s wouldn’t use a different logo for each different country where they do business, so why would you use different pictures in different social networks?

Summary

Favicons and avatars are to the web what logos are to the offline world. To create a favicon, use a portion of your logo to maintain a visual connection. Create your favicon using an online favicon generator.

If you are serious about the web and social media, use your own picture as your avatar, and use the same picture across all social networks.

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