Favicons for personal blogs

You didn’t notice I was gone, did you? It’s the first time since 2013 that this blog receives what blogs should get as often as possible – a post.

Before I started writing this post-about-posts (sorry ’bout that), I spent a lot of time looking for possible favicon, as a (albeit very subtle) way to wake up this sleeping creature. (Agreed: the best way would have been to just write, but looking for favicons are so much more fun!).

 

The “Before”

This was my favicon before: favicon

And this was my header before: logo4

I didn’t like either, not at all. Possibly, I didn’t even like them when I added them to the website three years ago.

But our distaste for each other certainly hasn’t approved since then. (They are well-meaning, don’t get me wrong. Still, in our world, trying mostly isn’t enough. And I think they might blame me – which would, in fact, be fair – I did make them, after all.)

 

Favicon criteria

So I went looking for favicons. I had to start somewhere. (A website’s header is so much more important, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I didn’t know what, exactly, to look for. The favicon should represent kind of the “essence” or even ‘brand’ of my blog. Much like my “tagline” is supposed to. The thing is, and that’s the dilemma, it’s a personal blog.

With some limitations:

  • I wouldn’t want it to be strict, streamlined, slick or branded. It’s not supposed to make money of any kind, in fact, money kind of scares me.
  • I don’t want it to promote me, either – I even think Facebook is intimidating. (I only got the domain with my name, because I discovered that it was actually free – and thought that was very cool. In the meantime, I have started wondering if there are any other people in the entire world who have my exact name).
  • Also, I don’t want the blog to be restricted to just one theme. I am close to fanatically interested in about a million different themes, and since the blog is in my very real and possibly unique name, I feel obligated to at least leave open the possibility for all of them to appear. And it would be too expensive to have a different blog for each of my many, often nerdy interests. (Although Myke Hurley seems to do just that but with podcasts. But he has his own podcast network, so it doesn’t count.)

    Mostly, I go through different phases in which I can’t get enough of a specific theme – only to then leave it for a couple of years. It goes in circles. It’s weird, whatever. The point is, if I specifically focused on say, “academic” analysis of tv shows, or on Apple workflows and productivity or what have you, as soon as that phase would be over, my blog would be forced into hiatus until the new phase hits me again.

I do want the blog to be pretty, though. And maybe, some day, even have readers.

So, what should a blog about “this and that” have as a favicon? (Never mind ‘secondary stuff’ like header and title).

Inspiration

I looked at my favorite blogs at the moment – to see how they tackle the favicon dilemma. For many of them, it wasn’t a dilemma at all, because their blogs are focused on a consistent theme, as blogs probably should be if it wants readers.

Here are some of their favicon solutions:

 

Smashing Magazine ArticleThey are pretty. The one from SimplicityBliss is just plain beautiful (I love the simple shape and pretty color… – Of course, that’s logo, which is also included in the header.) But those blogs are all also very focused – unlike the thematic mess my blog will most likely be.

 

I googled, then, but didn’t stumble upon many inspiration websites just about favicons. (I don’t see why…) Some old Smashing Magazines articles were a nice exception.

 

 

 

And I found several websites on “the best personal blogs” in different categories. Mostly, the blogs were blindingly impressive but too selfpromotionlike for the un-purposes of this blog.

The blogs with names as domains tended to have initials, or just one letter from the name, like these:

006
019
009
014
008
011
017
016
015
013
018
007
022
026
023

favicon

Some favicons where the domain was a person’s name even had representations of that person – from very abstract to very concrete:

024
021
012
010
027

 

So, I visited iconfinder.com – which not only has a perfect favicon itself, but many, many, many other icons to be used for that purpose. I browsed many different categories – animal icons, productivity icons, nature, avatar…. These were just some of the icons I considered (screenshots from my Iconfinder.com “Favorites” page):

 

Alas, Green Bird

But choosing one of them would be entirely random. Which is where my post i headed, anyway. It IS entirely random. You probably just chose something and stick with it. That certainly sounds like something, a blog entry about choosing favicons would say.

I bought and tried out two very different icons (here still with watermarks, because I’m terrified, I’ll infringe someone’s copyright):

Bird Icon Books Icon

The books look minimalistic and could sort of apply to any of the themes I might think to write about. But in Chrome (with a THEME I haven’t gotten around to changing yet), they looked awful – because they were hardly visible at all.

The budgie/parrot reminded me of my weird love for birds (well, all animals actually – but “particularly including birds”). And I love the way it looks at you. In my imagination. Also, I’m a “bird”, in the slang-word-for-woman way. That’s famously difficult to see from my name (Helle), if you’re outside of Denmark. (Which I am.) So the bird thing could be my way of subtly showing people that Helle is a girl’s name.

I tried two variants of the icon:

2015-03-birdorange orangebird

 

I strongly considered the bird. It could even give a name to the website and to the header. Like, “Orange Bird” – or “Blue Bird” (the joke beeing that it’s actually orange – an extremely nerdy joke, but a joke nonetheless). And I love the idea exactly because of it’s randomness. That is Chosing Something And Sticking With It to the extreme.

Initials

Buuuut, no nerd without overthinking. If my very modest goals for the blog were for it to be (sorta) pretty and also have reader(s), it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to call the blog something completely different than its domain. If a reader should appear here someday, he/she should hopefully be able to find his way back. That might even be a SEO wisdom of sorts.

So I thought about initials as favicon, like the sites mentioned above. While looking for favicons, I had made a new emergency header that looks like this:

Logo

(it might have changed many times by the time you read this).

 

 

And, in the end, I settled for the big orange B in the emergency header as a – temporary? – favicon. It looks like this:

Favicon

 

 

I would be very curious to find more sites about favicons, and see many more examples. Do you know any?