Preparing nearly 4,000 web badges, please be patient!
Do you remember these tiny 80x15 buttons that used to adorn websites all over the internet long ago? Web badges were very popular when the internet was younger, when web standards had not yet matured and search engines were not yet well established. Also known as antipixel buttons or brilliant buttons, these web badges gained popularity especially amongst bloggers as a way to provide a great deal of information about a website and its author at just a quick glance.
During a time before web standards and responsive web design existed, web badges were first mainly used to help identify with what browser or at what resolution a site was best viewed, or to show that a site complied with those early web standards as they emerged. Web badges were also commonly used for syndication and sharing Atom or RSS feeds.
Before there were advanced search engines to scour the web for us, many bloggers used web badges to link to directories where their site was listed, or as part of a webring they belonged to. A webring is simply a group of websites around a common subject, where the site owners all agree to link to each other to collectively increase their online exposure. Many bloggers would also use these badges to share their blogroll, or a curated list of their favorite and most frequented websites on the internet.
For a time, web badges exploded in popularity and were used for many other different purposes! Some badges advertised the platform the site was built on, the language it was built with, the editor used to build it, the operating system running it, or the provider hosting it. Some badges shared personal information about the author, such as geographical location, political or religious beliefs, what games they play, what sports teams they follow, what music they listen to, or what food they eat. There were of course many joke and meme badges created as well.
So what happened to web badges and why did they fall out of style? The improvements made to major search engines allow us to find information online quickly and easily today, and combined with the evolution of cross compatible responsive web design best practices, most of the functionality that web badges provided has now been rendered obsolete. While these badges were once practically ubiquitous across blogs long ago, most of this collection was actually stolen from the depths of the internet archives, as it sadly seems they have become a nearly forgotten gem of early internet history. I made this website to save web badges and bring them back into popularity by reminding everyone how cool they were with this huge collection of nearly 4,000 examples!
The compact unobtrusive size of the web badge is still relevant and useful in modern web design.
Web badges can convey a high density of information in efficiently little space.
There is a quality of artistic expression to the web badge made accessible to everyone.
There are still a few old web badge generators found online where you can create your own web badge the "authentic" way, but I will update this site to include a modernized version of the web badge generator, coming soon! It is also quite simple to make your own web badges using even a basic image editor. The font used on most web badges is called Silkscreen, and can be downloaded and used for free under the Open Font License. The only real rule is your file must be exactly 80x15 pixels, but you can follow the guidelines in the picture below for the standard web badge look.
While web badges are no longer needed to display a site's browser compatibility or optimal resolution, and the webrings and directories many of them were created for no longer exist, there are still practical applications for using web badges to display information efficiently on webpages today. Web badges are innately optimized for use on mobile devices, as they were created exactly with small screen resolutions and low bandwidth in mind! This site will soon link to some cool new examples showcasing modern web badge usage, as soon as I make or find them, but until then please continue to enjoy this web badge gallery!
If you have any web badges to add to this collection, have any modern examples of web badges in action to share with me, would like to offer me a job, or want to buy me a beer, you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!