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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

42 Answers 42

up vote 225 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


jon b unicorn

share|improve this answer
You just want me to accept this answer, don't you? I'm not that easy. – balpha Jan 28 '10 at 19:40
@balpha - Yes you are. – Adam Davis Jan 29 '10 at 4:57
You have a nice fish, you don't need unicorns :) – Daniel Daranas Jan 29 '10 at 11:21

Needs more googly eyes.

Yay! My very own unicorn!

alt text

I was disappointed earlier to find that the same wasn't done for SO, and this morning I find that you've got one up that does it dynamically!

Now I can see what my SO unicorn would be (since I use different avatars on SO and Meta, of course):

alt text

I'd have to say that's even a bit better than my metacorn.

share|improve this answer

You need more rainbows and sparkles.

nathan unicorn

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These could potentially be some of the variable background elements. – snicker Jan 28 '10 at 19:14
Yep, rainbows are definitely on the list. – balpha Jan 28 '10 at 19:28
I would like to suggest fluffy clouds as well. Some unicorns are into clouds. – snicker Jan 28 '10 at 22:58
Clouds are also on the list. @Paul: It's at localhost:8080/avatar/[hash] where [hash] is the same on you give to gravatar – balpha Jan 29 '10 at 7:05
@PolkaDancingUnicorn: I don't know what you're talking about; works fine for me ;) – balpha Jan 29 '10 at 14:19

Needs more legs.

Behold, legs on my unicorn!

alt text

My unicorn appears to have anger issues with rainbows.

share|improve this answer

I want to see mine, so I can start using it right away.

This needs to go live on April, 1st, along with the new pink CSS background colors.

Even better:

alt text

share|improve this answer
I want mine too! – Pëkka Jan 28 '10 at 22:15
Your unicornatar looks dreamy/pensive. – random Feb 1 '10 at 1:17

Stupidly cute, I love them!

Here is a ponycorn:


hashed unicorn

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

Unicorns with fricking laser beams attached to their heads!

share|improve this answer
I like the way you think buddy. – Daniel May Jan 29 '10 at 12:28

Get off my gravatar!!!

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Sweet! My blood-red unicorn is stabbing at the rainbow.

alt text

He's hardcore! Well, as hardcore as a unicorn can be.

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You should totally submit this to Gravatar, and see if they will add it as an option!

share|improve this answer

Now to patiently wait for caches to clean out so I can be unicornified!

Mine's leaping

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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

I think mine is on fire.

alt text

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Bug-eyed, the same color as glow in the dark stickers, every bit as shapely as a gummi bear, and seriously hung up on that rainbow.

alt text

Just horrible.

Add my vote for the 20100401 application date.

share|improve this answer
+1 for "every bit as shapely as a gummi bear". -1 for supporting the april fools' nonsense. :-/ – quack quixote Feb 1 '10 at 8:26

Mine looks like it has the sad puppy eyes.

alt text

share|improve this answer

Something appears to be wrong with mine.

alt text

share|improve this answer
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

Oh, I'm purple..

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

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


If I had 15 rep I would vote you up.

share|improve this answer
waaa hoooo!!!! you are upped sir! – Toymakerii Feb 3 '10 at 13:45

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 :))

share|improve this answer

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).

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer

My life finally has a purpose

alt text

share|improve this answer
that's a small horn you've got there – Spoike Feb 14 '10 at 15:57

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


share|improve this answer

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.)

share|improve this answer

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

alt text

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