Before the Avatar Movie…
There were avatar images.
An “Avatar” is an image that represents you online. The traditional Avatar system used on most Internet forums is a small square-shaped area close to the user’s forum post, where the Avatar is placed in order for other users to easily identify who has written the post without having to read their username.
Creating an Avatar image is creating a brand for yourself. Make sure your Profile image is communicating what you want it to. After all, people may see your Avatar more often than they see you.
Facebook profile images must be a minimum of 180 x 180 px. Keep in mind that the edges of your image will be cropped a bit for the border. Google+ crops your image in a circle so if you don’t want your hair or chin chopped off you might want to consider lots of dead space around your image.
Others in your Avatar
Users find it confusing when you display others in your Profile image. For example your dog, your child, and adding other people next to you. This may be fun for a one or two day event, like Mothers Day for example, but just be aware that it may confuse people.
A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. You upload it and create your profile just once, and then when you participate in any Gravatar-enabled site, your Gravatar image will automatically follow you there.
Cartoon characters may be appropriate for personal channels, like instagram, but probably not the best for more public forums like Linkedin or Facebook. Planet Creation lets you create a cute cartoon character Avatar image given selections for skin color, eyes, lips, chin, hair, earrings, etc.
Cartoon characters may be appropriate for personal channels, like instagram, but probably not the best for more public forums like Linkedin or Facebook.
The Best Profile Images
The best profile images convey who you are (happy, sad, serious, whimsical) and are clear and tasteful. Consider who will see your image and ask yourself if someone will understand who YOU are by looking at your image. If your Avatar successfully does that for you then congratulations!