Design, Art Direction, Graphics, Illustrations & Photography, in pixels or print. 
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Avatarium of Horror...

My Halloween avatars for TwitterFor the growing numbers of freelance professionals who frequent a wide range of web network services, like Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed etc. the Avatar is an increasingly important branding element. If you are prolific on these networks then your Avatar may be the only branding piece that many of your contacts will see of you. But this post is not about the importance of creating a great avatar (there’s a very good post on that here) No this post is about taking some artistic license, loosening the collar and having a bit of fun with my own avatar.

Despite the good advice of promoting only one consistent avatar (and I do agree with that) I wanted to have a bit of fun with mine. After all my logo itself is intended as a witty play on my own physical appearance, so I thought to play around with it a bit on a temporary basis. I take my work seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously.

I will point out though that these avatar variations were only used for my Twitter account. The Twitter environment is more fluid and faster moving than most other networks I know of, it is temporary by nature, so it’s a place where I feel more comfortable playing around with my public representation. Having said that I like taking some artistic licence with my icons and I may extend the variations to my email signatures too. Then I’ll have to make sure they are all synchronised, great, like I don’t have enough to do!

Now there’s a thought - why doesn’t someone come up with a cool web app that synchronises avatars across the various social networks? There’s a business opportunity for someone.

I had been thinking about designing a set of themed icons for a while and Halloween seemed like a good time to do it (I’m a fan of classic horror movies) and there are many iconic references that readily spring to mind. The challenge here was to break the reference down to the most basic graphic information so that the image survives the very small size for (in this case) a Twitter Avatar, also that it match the aesthetic of my own avatar, which was the starting point. The Halloween theme had a couple of exceptions, I created one icon as a tribute to the excellent radio drama of ‘War of the Worlds’, as performed by The Devious Theatre Company in Kilkenny, podcast of the show is available soon - check the Devious site for details. Although I’m not a native of Kilkenny I knew the show was coming up as I follow Ken McGuire in Twitter. The other was a Joker image, vaguely horror I guess, but I couldn’t resist making that one.

I certainly had fun designing these, it was a pleasant and creative break from my other ongoing projects. I typically created these icons in a very short timeframe as and when the inspiration struck, so they did not consume a great deal of my time. Thanks to all my Twitter followers who complimented me on the icons, feedback was great and the ratio of enjoyment gained, compared to effort applied, has been most rewarding.

You can see the full collection of avatars here.