Face pics are the new logo

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I’m trying to decide whether or not to have an image of myself on the sidebar of my blog. I’m guesstimating that 30% to 40% of the blogs I visit daily have themselves pictured. The old school designer in me has up until now thought that a logo was sufficient – but it got me to thinking. If I look at all the different social networks that I’m experimenting in, twitter to flickr to facebook and some of the client tools like tweetdeck – a logo is really not relevant as much as who I look like. I’ve thought about the pressure of the avatar before, but I think it’s worth considering again. Here’s the thing, I don’t think it matters as much what you look like just as long as you look interesting. With the constant flow of comments coming in from Tweetdeck, comments from people avatars seem real vs logos which feel like a bot is posting.

So how important do you think it is to have a face on the home page of a blog – are face pics the new logo?

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  • http://chrisglass.com/ Glass

    I dunno if an image needs to be on the home page, but I follow my own made-up rule that one must be available on the about page.

    As for photos as logos, I think that has a fair bit of weight. For a long time I've believed (and many write it much better), that individuals are becoming strong brands. Your notion supports that.

    Side complaint: Cartoon avatar icons can be grating. I have a few out there, I should think about replacing those maybe.

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    good call on the “about” section of a blog. that's one of the first places i check on a person's site. not sure why i didn't add mine sooner so i just did now http://designnotes.info/?page_id=2

    and i agree about those cartoon avatars, i'm not a huge fan of those myself…

  • http://andyjacobson.com/ andyjacobson

    Great observation. A logo/trademark is created to represent an organization. Most organization (a.k.a. corporations) lack a real “soul”, and the employees that represent those organizations are transient.

    A social networks value is contingent upon the transparency of the individuals that represent that network. Openness, honesty, sincerity…those are the qualities that strengthen ANY organization.

    And nothing better represents who you are than your picture. (And you'd make your mom happy.)

  • http://athertonbartelby.wordpress.com abartelby

    I think face pics on blogs are tremendously important. The advent of social media and networking sites, and the general public's increased participation in / on these networks, has made having visual access to what an online contact / friend looks like very important, I think. Also, as a long-time maintainer of a blog and reader of other blogs, I personally feel that it is nice to be able to connect the “voice” and thoughts of who I am reading with a face. I've always thought this lends a certain (if digitally manufactured) intimacy to the exchange of ideas in what is usually the very cold realm of the internet.

  • http://www.grandciel.com Kristin Maija Peterson

    Gosh, I hadn’t thought of that — my company logo viewed as bot. Yikes! But part of what I do as a designer is create brands, so my brand is my logo and that’s what I use. Plus, the camera hates me — I haven’t taken a presentable photo since I was five.

  • litherland

    On social networking sites like twitter, I find that continuous-tone images like face pics usually don't read well (too small). On a blog, where you're not really limited by size constraints, a personal image can be nice, reinforcing. But I think it depends on the individual, and what that individual is comfortable with. No right or wrong way imho. Jason Santa Maria's site might serve as an example of how both (namemark, unobtrustive face pic on the about page) are deployed well.

  • http://www.cbedon.com Cristhian Bedon

    This seems to be the new wave of branding your company. People seem to like to see how the person behind it all, looks like.

  • http://loquat73.blogspot.com/ Paulo Pereira

    Interesting observation, I agree that face pics have become the new logo. but also feel that if you are going to brand yourself a logo is much more effective in the long run. using your picture is fine for twitter, facebook and flickr -and having it in your blog's profile but not to build a brand around.

    For a blog a logo I feel is much more appropriate – for social networking sites like twitter, facebook and flickr having a logo is great but a picture works as well.

    using you face pic as your logo you kind of get lost in the ocean of other face pics. And I'm not suggesting that using a logo is going to be easy it's not because of the tiny space you have to work with but it isn't impossible to make it work. There are some logos on Twitter that i know exactly who they are because they use that logo on their blog. And thats the connection, people who use their face pics on their twitter account and have a blog most of the time I don't realize its the same person.

    By default I used a picture of myself for my twitter & flickr account because I felt I needed to have some sort of temporary representation there. I want to create a logo for myself as well as for my blog – eventually I will.

  • edwin rozendal

    Michael, it really depends on what your trying to achieve (or want be).
    I hear it a lot that “a real face” is 'old school' (that means your're born before 1975) but I still think that if your blog / company / whatever is really personal a (real) face is a good thing.

    Then again, if everybody uses a face, a face with a red nose is nice, you'll be noticed. So it's is really a designers question! Do you really want to be (or become) a “brand” or do you want to be a “person”? All important questions, with no one right answer…

    I can say that I take your blog seriously because of the professional design and content, and I really believe that that opinion will change once you put your funny wallpaper and holiday pictures into the blog…

  • http://www.suissa.ca howard

    I find that another thing, especially with social networking, is that people change their photo so often, usually at a whim, or to some random image they recently took of their child or dog, that it doesn't afford the time to brand. The point of brand, simplistically, is to visually show consistency and quality of an entity through a stable recognizable icon. I don't even notice the images beside comments any more, but rather find the name or username the icon I relate to as the brand. Might be interesting to compare and contrast icon and username pro's and con's uses and iconology to see what is more trusted or recognizable as quality or content referencing to a viewer. Are you more likely to recognize a comment and expect a style or content that uses the handle CowboyNeil or a new image each week… consistency seems to be the key rather than content of the icon.

  • http://www.disassociated.com/ John Lampard

    If nothing else mugshots are certainly one way of creating a unique “logo” 🙂