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Based on this comment, I have started building a unicorn avatar maker. It's still quite ugly, and the results aren't different enough yet, but this is what it looks like so far:

Question list / Joel's profile (removed the images from here to make this thing a little shorter).

Is this just way too stupid, or should I go on? If so, any suggestions? I'm thinking of things like backgrounds etc.


Update 2010/01/30: Version 0.2.

Now prettier and with legs, rainbows, and stuff. Examples:

Æther: alt text Jeff Atwood: alt text Troggy: alt text

Update 2010/01/31: Still version 0.2, the images are (almost) unchanged.

But now its on the App Engine for everyone, so go ahead pounding my quota:

Replace HASH by the md5 hash that gets given to gravatar (or any hexadecimal number, really). Don't just copy & paste the above into your browser. I thought this was clear, but looking at the access logs, it looks like I have to explain it.

The ?s=32 parameter can be omitted. The only legal values are 32 and 128; defaults to 32. Other parameters are ignored.

If you take this greasemonkey script and change the substitution line to

$(this).attr("src", $(this).attr("src").replace(/www\.gravatar\.com/, ""));

you'll see meta the way it has been looking to me for the past days: Full of unicorns.

If you just want to replace the identicons, i.e. those users that don't have their own gravatar set up, use this instead:

$(this).attr("src", $(this).attr("src").replace(/(www\.gravatar\.com\/avatar\/)([a-z0-9]*)\?s=(\d+)&d=identicon(.*)$/, "$1$2?s=$3&$2%3fs%3d$3$4"));

Finally, if you just want to see it once, without any greasy monkeys: Paste this

javascript:(function(){$("img").attr("src", function(){return this.src.replace(/www\.gravatar\.com/, "")})})()

into your location bar.

Update 2010/02/14: Version 0.4

I will be deploying a new version later today. Some of you have showcased your own unicorn avatar below using a direct link to These images will then show the updated version. If you want to preserve the historical record by keeping the old version, you'll have to host the image somewhere else, or at least change the image URL. The old ones will be available by passing an additional parameter v with the value 3, i.e.

No new old-version images will be created, but the previously created ones will still be available for a while.

Since the unicorns have their own website by now, this is probably the last update I'll be posting on this question.

Update 2010/04/01

Jeff finally rolled out the Unicorn avatars for us all to enjoy.

share|improve this question
way too stupid is just the beginning... – Troggy Jan 28 '10 at 17:59
Why are those unicorns and not ponies? I'd +1 this if they were ponies. – John Rudy Jan 28 '10 at 18:02
Unicorns are magical ponies. – user27414 Jan 28 '10 at 18:06
Incredibly stupid. But totally worth it just for the big purple Spolsky avatar. – Shog9 Jan 28 '10 at 18:06
I believe it was TheTXI who said something like "Unicorns are the magical weaponized form of ponies". – gnostradamus Jan 28 '10 at 18:15
If this doesn't bring TheTXI back, nothing will. – user27414 Jan 28 '10 at 18:18
@Pekka: I have a unicorn farm at home and a motion-controllable camera. – balpha Jan 28 '10 at 19:53
You have way too much time on your hands.... – Michael Kniskern Jan 28 '10 at 20:25
@State I think you misspelled "Unicorn" as "Union" in your name... On another note: I just influenced the creation of something great and world-changing? AWESOME! – Michael Stum Jan 28 '10 at 20:31
@Æther: It's way to unoptimized to generate on the fly yet. I'm thinking about precalculating the top so-and-so Meta users for a start. – balpha Jan 29 '10 at 18:20
Hahahahahahahahaha! This is really, really great. I wish I could upvote it more than once. Jeff Attwood's Unicorn looks really perturbed, though! These Avatars are going to be more difficult than those from gravatar in terms of people wanting a different one - obviously, because faces and expressions come into play. – Pëkka Jan 30 '10 at 19:47
@gnostradamus: I just discovered the TheTXI quote. You took it 100% out of context: " Many have mistakenly believed that unicorns are weaponized forms of the pony" -- – balpha Feb 1 '10 at 7:45
@balpha: I guess he changed his mind later:…;. – mmyers Feb 1 '10 at 14:24
This is my most favorite question of all time. Thank you. – Jarrod Dixon Feb 3 '10 at 7:25
OMG! This is absolutely amazing! I'd love to use these avatars somehow on – Cornify Feb 9 '10 at 14:10

43 Answers 43

up vote 228 down vote accepted

Jeff, you must change the default avatars on S[OFU] to unicorns on April 1st.


Ok this was implemented... I'm sooo happy now :D Thanks Jeff!

share|improve this answer
except mine. change mine to waffles. – quack quixote Feb 1 '10 at 8:24
oh fishing carp. now this is the most upvoted answer on the page. i swear i'm boycotting SOFU on april fools' if i log in and see unicorn avatars everywhere. – quack quixote Feb 3 '10 at 7:25
This would require a filter to disallow questions containing "unicorn" and "WTF" in the title on that day. Otherwise it'd be 20 questions up the top of the page with kids asking what the deal is with unicorns. – Igor Zevaka Feb 3 '10 at 11:57
@Igor: what if I want to ask programming-related unicorn questions? – Andreas Bonini Feb 3 '10 at 12:00
Wouldn't that be premature pessimization? :)) – Igor Zevaka Feb 3 '10 at 20:18
What if I want to ask questions about this? – Paul Nathan Feb 4 '10 at 17:46

I have got at least this one advantage of having multiple email addresses! I HAVE SO MANY UNICORNS!!! Sure I have some more, but somehow I lost them :( Wherever you are, rest in piece my unicorns ;)

1 2 3

4 5 5

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Now I love my unicorn..

enter image description here

But is there away to get a DOUBLE rainbow!!!!

Unicorns need double rainbows!!!!

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Something appears to be wrong with mine.

alt text

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Sure, his neck is a little thick, but that's what makes him special. Embrace your mildly deformed unicorn. Love him. – Jay Riggs Feb 1 '10 at 22:41
@Jay Riggs - I was a bit more concerned about the eye that is floating off into space. – rjzii Feb 1 '10 at 22:57
Your unicorn rides to school on the same bus as mine. A very short bus. – dmckee Feb 1 '10 at 23:29

alt text

I think you could start a new religion with this, at least something like a zodiac style future prediction thing. I think mine says I'm romantic and I will be lucky in finding a new job this year.

Good job.

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If I had 15 rep I would vote you up.

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waaa hoooo!!!! you are upped sir! – Toymakerii Feb 3 '10 at 13:45

There is one missing.


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We detected an invalid link in your post, please correct it. (this message will be automatically removed when the link is fixed) – Community May 14 '12 at 5:24

Mine looks like it has the sad puppy eyes.

alt text

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Stupidly cute, I love them!

Here is a ponycorn:


hashed unicorn

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That pony looks like it's tripping. – random Jan 29 '10 at 12:12
@random, even better ;) – Nadia Jan 29 '10 at 12:29

Wish I'd known earlier. I could have had a WordPress plugin for it out on April 1st.

Plugin will be available soon, I've already got the application in the repository.

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Ok, so earlier I was thinking these were screencaps:

From the mygotits full of unicorns: I'm thinking they're character screencaps from 'The Last Unicorn', or something similar. they're not exact; it might be some KMart/WalMart Direct-to-DVD thing. Don't forget that Jeff's child would be of that age.

Looks like I had that wrong.

Interesting, but I won't be keeping mine.

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next stackoverflow ad:

Do you have a problem with premature implementation? Wish you could satisfy your users but always release too early? We do to.

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My unicorn is a punk:

alt text

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I love mine! Too bad you can't add it dynamically as a picture

alt text

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Favelet / Bookmarklet to quickly view a Unicornified™ Gravatar based on its MD5 hash: (view for draggable link)

javascript:(function(){var%20q=prompt('Gravatar MD5 hash:');if(q){document.location=''+q.replace(/%20/g,'').replace(/@/g,'')+'?s=128';}})();

Here’s mine:

My normal Gravatar My Unicornified™ Gravatar

share|improve this answer
Are you expecting spaces in MD5 hashes...? – Arjan Feb 8 '10 at 14:13
Aha, you're removing them now indeed. ;-) (But the version at JSBin still yields plus-characters. By the way: note that using the at-sign like in @Arjan will give a notification; see – Arjan Feb 9 '10 at 9:46

alt text

I find mine awesome <3
Thanks balpha, you rock!

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Love it, love it, love it! This is pure amazing! Can I showcase these unicorn avatars on

Sparkles and rainbow hugs to you!

share|improve this answer
Thanks! Sure you can -- I'd be honored! Let's just hope the Unicornify App Engine quotas survive the Cornify crowds :) – balpha Feb 9 '10 at 18:11

My Unicorn

Man, look at the size of that horn.

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He liked being purple, but the other unicorns made him feel inadequate.

alt text

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A Classic... and April is still like 2 months away!

My little pwn3y (er.. unicorn)

Just like Skittles... Touch the rainbow!

alt text

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Awesome, mine looks like a nightmarish unicorn from hell :) Now if it only could breath fire...

alt text

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Some sites use things like -- at least the homepage of itself does. The following change handles that, also ignoring the case:

replace(/\w*\.gravatar\.com/i, ''

And now that is a true web site, maybe add the Greasemonkey thingy there as well? And, here's a bookmarklet:

function loadJQuery(onload){
  if(typeof jQuery != 'undefined'){
    var h = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0],
      s = document.createElement('script'),
      loaded = false;
    s.type = 'text/javascript';
    s.src = '';
    s.onload = s.onreadystatechange = function(){
        && (!this.readyState || this.readyState == 'loaded'
             || this.readyState == 'complete')
        loaded = true;

    $jq = jQuery.noConflict();
        return this.src.replace(/\w*\.gravatar\.com/i, '');


<a href="javascript:(function(){function%20loadJQuery(onload){if(typeof%20jQuery!='undefined'){onload();}else{var%20h=document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0],s=document.createElement('script'),loaded=false;s.type='text/javascript';s.src='';s.onload=s.onreadystatechange=function(){if(!loaded&&(!this.readyState||this.readyState=='loaded'||this.readyState=='complete')){loaded=true; onload();}};h.appendChild(s);}}loadJQuery(function(){$jq=jQuery.noConflict();$jq('img').attr('src',function(){return%20this.src.replace(/\w*\.gravatar\.com/i,'');})})})()">Unicornify this page</a>

One could also use tricks like used by The Printliminator, to fetch both jQuery and another script (with a dummy URL parameter to enforce fetching the latest version each time) to run the actual jQuery replacements as well. That way, you can change the latter when needed.

(But that Printliminator bookmarklet seems to load jQuery no matter what, which I guess could yield problems when mixing versions? Also, using function() rather than void(..) seems easier after all, so forget my earlier comment on that.)

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Mine is a ninja unicorn. Or a ninjacorn. Notice how it's camouflaged!!


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My life finally has a purpose

alt text

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that's a small horn you've got there – Spoike Feb 14 '10 at 15:57

Me (primary e-mail)

Me (secondary e-mail)

I could learn to live with it ;-p Fantastic work.

For anyone wanting to swap gravatars; note that the gravatar caching means that changing the image against your gravatar is slow to take effect. Adding a second e-mail address and associating that with a second image is much more effective. Then all you have to do is change you e-mail address (easy) and you have an immediate update. For many e-mail providers (gmail in particular) you can use the + trick to get additional working e-mail addresses - i.e. if your r e-mail address is, you can use (for example).

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My spaced out hippy unicorn:

This is way fun. Unicornatars in Wordpress blog:

You need to add support for 48px for them to work out of the box-ish :))

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alt text

Oh, I'm purple..

Hmm.. Looks a bit stoned/drugged out of eyes.

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You think yours looks stoned? Look at Jeff Atwood's one! – Pëkka Feb 2 '10 at 17:49

Edit: @balpha - these are awesome btw.

One suggestion though... since you've gone to the trouble of adding a mane & legs, maybe give them a tail (same colour as the main, except a bit bigger & getting thicker towards the end)?

Also, because I think it's appropriate, I've added your greasemonkey script snippet to my Cornify button script, so now cornifying will unicornify the gravatar for the relevant question/answer too.

Damn it, my rainbow & unicorn hating workplace is blocking (a conspiracy to be sure).

Now I'm going to have to painstakingly type in my gravatar md5 hash into my mobile phone so I can see mine.

alconja's unicorn

share|improve this answer
Hopefully imgur isn't blocked for you. – random Jan 31 '10 at 23:14

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