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Sigil's inverted Sigil Sigil's Sigil

Sigil is a deterministic identicon generator.

Sigil creates a recognizable* identicon for each user that can be consistently used across many sites when a user-uploaded avatar or Gravatar is unavailable or unwanted. Sigils can be generated by any app or service using this application or other implementation of the Sigil protocol. Sites can also use Sigil generation services.

* see Privacy below

Using Sigil

Sigil 0.1 creates identicons to represent users. A future release will have additional algorithms and representations for non-persons. This will help anyone who encounters Sigils to determine quickly if they represent users or other content.

Sigil generates an identicon from a source string. In most cases (see Privacy) the source string will be the user's email address. Query parameters can be used to request an SVG or PNG of any size and switch the foreground and background colors if desired. Reversing the background and foreground colors does not change the information represented in a Sigil, so the reversed image can be used if the style is more compatible with the host app.

You can generate Sigils internally using this app (or your own implementation of the protocol below) or use a Sigil service.

The Sigil server takes an arbitrary string from the path and uses a MD5 of it to generate the sigil. If you already have an MD5, you can hex encode it and the server will not hash it again.

Simply replace arbitrary with data (for example a username) to get a Sigil. You may optionally append .png or .svg to explicitly request a PNG or SVG (PNG is the default). Two URL parameters are available:

  • w=240 sets the width in pixels (must be evenly divisible by 12). The default width is subject to change, so you should specify the width explicitly.
  • inverted=1 inverts the colors.


There exists a possibility of significant user information disclosure if used improperly. Email addresses should not be used as the source string (even if hashed first) if the user's email address is not meant to be publicly available through your site. It is possible to discover the email address from which the Sigil was derived. This is a serious leak if the user's address is not exposed elsewhere on the site. In these cases, use a different source string composed of information that is available such as a username or user id.

The Protocol

This repo contains a Sigil implementation written in Go, but Sigil can be implemented in any language. A formal specification will be included with the 1.0 release.

Sigil uses the truncated MD5 hash of a string to create 5x5 identicons. The first three columns and the color are generated from the truncated hash, the last two columns are a reflection of the first two (1->5, 2->4).


Sigil is still a work in progress. The color scheme is still being finalized and this implementation may be optimized further. Additional background colors will likely also be provided. We also intend to create a separate representation for things instead of users i.e. favicons for Heroku apps. The suggested use instructions (source string, background color, inverted colors, default width) may also change before the 1.0 release.

Try it

Download this repo or use to generate a Sigil.

Use Sigils in your own apps for users who don't have avatars or use your own Sigil as an avatar in other apps.

Ales Nesetril designed the color scheme.

Other implementations