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/, "unicornify.appspot.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&d=http%3A%2F%2Funicornify.appspot.com%2Favatar%2F$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/, "unicornify.appspot.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 unicornify.appspot.com/avatar/.... 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.

  • 73
    way too stupid is just the beginning... – Troggy Jan 28 '10 at 17:59
  • 33
    Why are those unicorns and not ponies? I'd +1 this if they were ponies. – John Rudy Jan 28 '10 at 18:02
  • 59
    Unicorns are magical ponies. – user27414 Jan 28 '10 at 18:06
  • 72
    Incredibly stupid. But totally worth it just for the big purple Spolsky avatar. – Shog9 Jan 28 '10 at 18:06
  • 25
    I believe it was TheTXI who said something like "Unicorns are the magical weaponized form of ponies". – gnostradamus Jan 28 '10 at 18:15
  • 32
    If this doesn't bring TheTXI back, nothing will. – user27414 Jan 28 '10 at 18:18
  • 26
    @Pekka: I have a unicorn farm at home and a motion-controllable camera. – balpha Jan 28 '10 at 19:53
  • 11
    You have way too much time on your hands.... – Michael Kniskern Jan 28 '10 at 20:25
  • 2
    @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
  • 3
    @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
  • 3
    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. – Pekka Jan 30 '10 at 19:47
  • 9
    @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" -- meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6940 – balpha Feb 1 '10 at 7:45
  • 6
    @balpha: I guess he changed his mind later: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19478/the-many-memes-of-meta/…. – mmyers Feb 1 '10 at 14:24
  • 24
    This is my most favorite question of all time. Thank you. – Jarrod Dixon Feb 3 '10 at 7:25
  • 4
    OMG! This is absolutely amazing! I'd love to use these avatars somehow on cornify.com – Cornify Feb 9 '10 at 14:10

43 Answers 43


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!

  • 18
    except mine. change mine to waffles. – quack quixote Feb 1 '10 at 8:24
  • @~quack: it would be for default avatars only, so you can use yours for whatever you want – Thomas Bonini Feb 1 '10 at 9:54
  • if you mean i can set mine to a non-default avatar, no, i can't. see this for why: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/25542 – quack quixote Feb 1 '10 at 22:21
  • @~quack: lol, interesting :) Well at least you have a super cool name – Thomas Bonini Feb 2 '10 at 3:32
  • 4
    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
  • 12
    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
  • 20
    @Igor: what if I want to ask programming-related unicorn questions? – Thomas Bonini Feb 3 '10 at 12:00
  • 9
    Wouldn't that be premature pessimization? :)) – Igor Zevaka Feb 3 '10 at 20:18
  • 2
    What if I want to ask questions about this? gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/games/unicorn/index.htm#detailed – Paul Nathan Feb 4 '10 at 17:46
  • and so it is DONE ;) I like it, might as well be permanent... – ChristopheD Mar 31 '10 at 22:36
  • Indeed. Very droll. I thought it was alcohol induced... – gbn Mar 31 '10 at 22:38
  • I think I got the first "kids asking what the deal is with unicorns" Q in on meta – DVK Mar 31 '10 at 22:48
  • I thought someone hax0red my account yesterday. – vivin Mar 31 '10 at 23:36
  • I don't like unicorns, probably because I'm not a 6 year old girl. – Tim Williscroft Apr 1 '10 at 1:45
  • @balpha, how's that quota at Google Apps doing? :-) – Arjan Apr 1 '10 at 6:55

Unicorns with fricking laser beams attached to their heads!

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

You need more rainbows and sparkles.

nathan unicorn

  • 6
    These could potentially be some of the variable background elements. – snicker Jan 28 '10 at 19:14
  • 1
    Yep, rainbows are definitely on the list. – balpha Jan 28 '10 at 19:28
  • @balpha: where's the web service to view these at? =) – Paul Nathan Jan 28 '10 at 22:20
  • 16
    I would like to suggest fluffy clouds as well. Some unicorns are into clouds. – snicker Jan 28 '10 at 22:58
  • 3
    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
  • @balpha - LOL! " is where the heart is," but I can't access the service at localhost:8080/avatar !!! – Pollyanna Jan 29 '10 at 13:53
  • 8
    @PolkaDancingUnicorn: I don't know what you're talking about; works fine for me ;) – balpha Jan 29 '10 at 14:19
  • It seems that has its eye on someone else, and surely its neighbour's grass is greener? ;-) unicornify.appspot.com/avatar/… – Arjan Feb 2 '10 at 8:11
  • Needs more rainbow. And cowbell. – Andrew Grimm Mar 31 '10 at 22:53
  • I want a pony. Why can't I have a pony? – Warren in Toronto Mar 31 '10 at 23:15
  • @Warren: Unicorns are magical weaponized ponies. – Paul Nathan Apr 1 '10 at 20:52

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

alt text

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



jon b unicorn

  • 21
    You just want me to accept this answer, don't you? I'm not that easy. – balpha Jan 28 '10 at 19:40
  • 8
    @balpha - Yes you are. – Pollyanna Jan 29 '10 at 4:57
  • 2
    You have a nice fish, you don't need unicorns :) – Daniel Daranas Jan 29 '10 at 11:21

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

| 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 http://unicorn.ü-wie-geek.de/0.2/128/c658f5d2eae05b8e7cab26a40106cd7c.png


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.


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



Needs more legs.

Behold, legs on my unicorn!

alt text http://unicorn.xn---wie-geek-p9a.de/0.2/128/44adec8d6f10bfc9c0219015a89eca61.png

My unicorn appears to have anger issues with rainbows.

  • Your image no longer loads. Can you fix that by re-uploading it to imgur? – rene Apr 4 '16 at 17:07

There is one missing.


  • 3
    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
  • 3
    Now what invalid link is there? Community hides in shame – Qantas 94 Heavy Dec 5 '13 at 13:08


If I had 15 rep I would vote you up.

  • 1
    waaa hoooo!!!! you are upped sir! – Toymakerii Feb 3 '10 at 13:45

Some sites use things like 0.gravatar.com -- at least the homepage of www.gravatar.com itself does. The following change handles that, also ignoring the case:

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

And now that unicornify.appspot.com 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 = 'http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1/jquery.js';
    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, 'unicornify.appspot.com');


<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='http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1/jquery.js';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.appspot.com');})})})()">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.)

| improve this answer | |
  • Great! I'll put that on the homepage later on. – balpha Feb 3 '10 at 12:53
  • @balpha, thanks for the credits at unicornify.appspot.com/use-it, but no need for that at all! – Arjan Feb 3 '10 at 19:39
  • Unless you explicitly say you want not to get credit, you're getting it. Hey, it's the first time someone wrote a "plugin" for a program I wrote. I've got to brag a little :) – balpha Feb 3 '10 at 19:44
  • Also, you where pretty quick to notice -- 17 minutes between deployment and your comment :-) – balpha Feb 3 '10 at 19:46

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.

  • 1
    +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


My life finally has a purpose

alt text

  • 4
    that's a small horn you've got there – Spoike Feb 14 '10 at 15:57

Stupidly cute, I love them!

Here is a ponycorn:


hashed unicorn

  • 12
    That pony looks like it's tripping. – random Jan 29 '10 at 12:12
  • 3
    @random, even better ;) – Nadia Jan 29 '10 at 12:29

I think mine is on fire.

alt text


alt text

Oh, I'm purple..

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

  • 6
    You think yours looks stoned? Look at Jeff Atwood's one! – Pekka Feb 2 '10 at 17:49

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.


Something appears to be wrong with mine.

alt text

  • 12
    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
  • 11
    Your unicorn rides to school on the same bus as mine. A very short bus. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Feb 1 '10 at 23:29
  • Could it have jaundice? – Andrew Grimm Apr 1 '10 at 0:53

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

alt text


My Unicorn

Man, look at the size of that horn.


Get off my gravatar!!!

| improve this answer | |

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

alt text


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 :))

  • Awesome! I have added 48 to the allowed sizes. – balpha Feb 3 '10 at 8:51
  • Sick, no more blurriness :)) – Igor Zevaka Feb 3 '10 at 11:59

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 somebody@gmail.com, you can use somebody+meta@gmail.com (for example).

  • that explains why your gravatar is different from the unicorn belonging to your gravatar hash :) – balpha Feb 3 '10 at 8:59
  • @balpha yes, the one I've posted is for my primary email. – Marc Gravell Feb 3 '10 at 9:11

Favelet / Bookmarklet to quickly view a Unicornified™ Gravatar based on its MD5 hash: (view http://jsbin.com/ohoxi3/2 for draggable link)

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

Here’s mine:

My normal Gravatar My Unicornified™ Gravatar

  • 1
    Are you expecting spaces in MD5 hashes...? – Arjan Feb 8 '10 at 14:13
  • Cool, thanks. unicornify.appspot.com/use-it will even generate the hash for you, if you happen not to have it at hand. – balpha Feb 8 '10 at 14:15
  • Arjan van Bentem: Nope. That’s exactly why I am removing them :) I expect people to copy/paste the hashes from I-don’t-know-where, and figured it would be better to remove spaces. – Mathias Bynens Feb 9 '10 at 8:55
  • 1
    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 blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/01/new-improved-comments-with-reply) – Arjan Feb 9 '10 at 9:46

Frickin' awesome.

John Rudy's

  • I wish you had a tail. – Jay Riggs Feb 1 '10 at 22:36
  • Looks like none of the full-body ones have tails. – John Rudy Feb 1 '10 at 22:47
  • They're all full-body.The camera just doesn't show it all. And yes, they don't have tails yet. – balpha Feb 2 '10 at 7:26
  • This is where it goes too far, haha. This is great. April Fool's Joke for sure. – dmanexe Feb 2 '10 at 19:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .