Caller ID Avatars


In 2009, I started making custom caller IDs for the contacts on my phone. I have a lot of fun working on this ongoing project. When a colorful, quirky icon pops up on my phone every time a friend calls me, it really brightens up my day. As of 2016, I’ve made over 150 pieces for this personal project.


Throughout this project, I was heavily influenced by the design styles of Apple products. A majority of the earliest icons were modeled after iPhone 4’s app icons. As the years went by, I reworked the layers of each icon as I grew as a designer. By 2012, several media sites like Google Plus supported transparent png files, so I needed to rid the jpeg icons of white space. Finally, when the latest iOS came out, I needed the icons to support circle containers, so I went with a flat design.


The Caller ID avatars support circular containers, like in the Favorites page of Apple iPhone.

The current avatars are optimally designed for forward-thinking media sites like Google and Instagram. The patterns from the older designs were removed, making for a more minimal icon. I modeled them in response to the current circle-shaped social profile avatars, like in Google’s Material Design.


As a colorphile, I created these avatars so that I could quickly identify a caller when a specific color lights up on my phone's screen. The use of a black cutout on a color background makes the icons easily distinguishable in small and large sizes. For me, this project brings out the unique personalities of each of my friends. Together, they become a colorful community.

Example avatars in Google's Gmail mobile app.


Other Works: