I've seen this popping up a lot lately. Users have been putting images inside blockquotes to add the darker border around the image so it doesn't look like the image "blends into the background" and is easier to tell it's an image.

It's a unicorn!

How would I ever know that this image isn't part of the normal content without the border!? Ok, bad example (if you hate unicorns!!!). This happens a lot more often on meta when posting screenshots of the website.

It doesn't bother me so much, so I don't really care. But being the HTML semantics freak I am, I don't like the idea of putting images inside blockquotes just to create a border effect. So I'm curious how much of a problem people think this is, and if images should have a border applied to them to make them stand out. Where does everyone stand on this?

  • 3
    If you're talking semantics it's not like a blockquote isn't citing what the computer is saying via screenshot
    – random
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 5:25
  • 4
    Good point, I would add feature like <img src="..." border /> that will put border around the image. However, don't think that all images should have border around them. Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 5:52
  • Even worse: code and whitespace to center the image, which only takes the regular websites with regular browsers into account... (At least often an in image is kind of a quote.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 6:06
  • Someone edited one of my posts to do this and, admittedly, it did look much better. I'd like the option to put a border on <img> as someone mentioned. Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 6:07
  • 1
    related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/119014/…
    – Felix
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 6:23
  • What sort of images? For screenshots, I've long been a fan of drop shadows to set them off.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 16:44
  • 2
    Drop shadows is the mark of the unclean @sho
    – random
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 16:48
  • You're thinking of drop bears. Filthy beasts.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 17:51
  • I know I mostly just use it for screenshots not just because there's a white background, but because if your screenshot is of a post's text it's really hard to figure out where the screenshot ends and the text of the post posting the screenshot continues. For any image that doesn't contain text (like, say, a unicorn, just to pick something arbitrary) this isn't really a problem.
    – Servy
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


I for one use "quote background trick" only when I feel that without background around image post is harder to read.

As for your unicorn example - out of curiosity I tried how your post would look without background surrounding the image: per what I've seen in preview, it would look better without.

Here is a screen shot of your post preview I tried; I use quote background around this screen shot so that text at it does not look like part of my answer.


I also tested how above screen shot would look in my answer without "quote background" around it to make sure that in this case having background the way I do indeed looks better to me.

My judgement on these matters is mostly subjective; I wouldn't get into edit war over it.


I'm going to agree that it would be nice have the option to put a (black, 1 pixel) border around images. I answered a question here, about a web app that had a white background, and it was difficult to get it to look right. I ended-up using the "quote background trick" just to provide some definition around the edge. But it still doesn't look quite right.

Based-on Arjan's comment below, I agree that it looks even worse on mobile. A border would certainly be a benefit when viewing from a mobile device.


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