Initials Maintainability Test Coverage

Don't want to implement user avatar uploads but still have basic avatars to distinguish users and brigthen up your app?

Use colorful SVGs as user avatars in any Ruby and Rails application.



Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'initials'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install initials


Call Initials.svg("Morty Smith") anywhere to get a colorful initials avatar SVG as string. The avatar's background color is based on the provided name and the font-size is adjusted to fit between one and three character initials.


No special configuration is required to work with Ruby on Rails, but for your convinience, you can add this to your app/helpers/application_helper.rb:

def user_avatar(name, **options)
  Initials.svg(name, **options)

Now you can create SVGs in all views:

<%= user_avatar( %>

Initials automatically marks its created SVG strings as html_safe.


You can pass the following options into Initials.svg or your user_avatar helper:

  colors: 8,    # number of different colors, default: 12
  limit: 1,     # maximal initials length, default: 3
  shape: :rect, # background shape, default: :cirlce
  size: 96      # SVG height and width in pixel, default: 32

Of course, you can also use CSS to make the SVG have different sizes in different places of your HTML.


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake spec to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in version.rb, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.