Those small web buttons…

I’ve been noticing recently the proliferation (mostly on blog sites) of those small image files that are 80 pixels wide by 15 pixels high, are generally two-tone in color and use a simple old-school-looking font. Like these:

RSS 2.0 button button

And I’m wondering, what’s the story? What are they called, exactly? (I’m thinking either “buttons” or “badges.”) Who’s making them? I think they’re pretty cool, actually; clever, simple, and elegant, and a damn good graphical meme that’s working it’s way around my brain. I just haven’t been able to find out anything about them online, and I’m getting really curious.

So I’ve started “collecting” them, saving any news ones I come across into a “badges” directory on my computer. I’ve got 42 already in two days. (Hmmm, 42. Coincidence?)

So, what’s the scoop? Anyone know?

10 Replies to “Those small web buttons…”

  1. Yeah, I strip HTML for safety reasons, mostly. Sorry about that. I’m writing a new "comment disclaimer" page that will cover this and more.

    And thanks for the links, by the way! 🙂

  2. Yeah, I saw the directory of the ones already made. 2025 or so!

    My only qualm about using them is the same–they’re slick little buttons, but each one is a separate hit to the server, and if you have a bunch, that’ll add up. Look at Sebastian Bergmann’s page ( for a slightly ridiculous example of this.

  3. Oh, it happened to my server, too, as I had about 10 of those on my site’s template, and it inflated my site’s hit count FAR more than it should’ve, and my host got mad (even though my bandwidth use was really low). I’ve actually seen sites that did a pretty good job of recreating them in CSS so they look very similar to the graphical ones, and then there’s only one HTTP request, not inflating your hit count.

    But of course, I can’t remember where I saw them.

  4. Another solution I was thinking of would be one single image file, containing all the ones you want, and setting up an image map in HTML for it. But of course, it would be a pain to update, unlike the CSS solution.

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