Khan Academy’s New Avatars: We Made Them, Now You Can Name Them

Saad Ahmed, Former Senior Digital Strategist

Article Category: #News & Culture

Posted on

If you’ve ever wanted to name a cute avatar that’s going to be seen by thousands of people around the world, here’s your chance. We’ve been working with our friends at Khan Academy to help brainstorm, design, and illustrate avatars for the new learning dashboard that they launched in August.  As students progress through courses, earning points and gaining badges for their new skills and knowledge, they can “level up” their avatars. It’s a fun way to keep students engaged, and we were happy to lend a hand. 

When Khan Academy introduced the first version of profile avatars, students loved them—so much so that they wanted more. They petitioned the designers and garnered more than 2,900 votes, making it the most frequently requested feature.



Nearly three and half years ago, Viget helped Khan Academy with their very first branding and design explorations. So we were thrilled when their Lead Designer, Jason Rosoff, wanted to work with us again, this time to help improve their avatars (below) and come up with new and updated concepts.



We began this fun little project by thinking through several concepts centered on updated versions of “Spunky Sam” and “Purple Pi” while also considering user requests found on the forums. Our team then realized that, just as Khan Academy helps students learn and grow, so too should their avatars evolve and grow as students earn more points and progress through the learning dashboard. After several internal discussions, we landed on the idea of avatars that start as seedlings and evolve into full-fledged creatures. Here’s an early sketch:



Now that we’ve created these designs, Khan Academy needs your help and input! Use the awesome HTML/CSS submission tool and help name these cute little buggers. We can’t guarantee any prizes or fame; but, if your name is selected, know that you’ll be supporting a great organization that’s revolutionizing the way the world learns.

Related Articles