Default Tanuki avatar
Problem to solve
Right now we use randomly created gravatar images as profile pictures for users who don't have one (yet). These often use signal colors, which takes attention away from the actual content.
It also doesn't help that we have only a very minimal border around them and that the images contain lots of whitespace, which causes it to sometimes not look like a circle, but more edgy, attracting even more attention.
Just as a very quick comparison, I have replaced all occurences of the randomly generated gravatars with the default profile picture from Twitter.
In order to have more control over our interface, we should design a new default profile picture. There is also an opportunity to highlight our brand and create a bit more of a GitLab feeling, e.g. by adding a young Tanuki cub, similar to what Twitter once did with its egg as profile picture for new users.
One disadvantage of using just one default picture, as we can see in the previous screenshots, is that it will be tougher to differentiate between multiple users without profile pictures. In order to see whether this is actually a practical problem, we should look into the data about how many active users are currently still using the default picture. If that is a significant number, we could create multiple default pictures with the same content, but different colors.