The evolution of Yoast avatars & we’re doing a redesign!

Over the years, our avatars have evolved quite a bit. Paul Madden created the first avatar, back in 2007. A few years later, I asked Erwin to improve upon it and he ran off with them. He created many, many avatars. First of me, later on of the entire, rapidly growing, team. Below is an infographic highlighting that history, about which we’ll talk more at YoastCon.

Yoast redesign

At YoastCon, we’ll also talk about the next step of the design that Mijke and Erwin have been working on. The avatars will stay, but they won’t be as prominent anymore. Now that Marieke, Thijs, Michiel and the rest of the team are all so important for the growth of Yoast and it’s obvious that it’s not just my work, it’s time to take my head out of the header. At YoastCon, either live or through the livestream, you can see us unveil the next iteration of our site design!

For now, enjoy the infographic Erwin and Mijke created:

The evolution of Yoast Avatars in an infographic

The Evolution of Yoast


In the early days of Joost’s consulting career Paul Madden creates his first avatar. Joost quickly learns it makes people recognize him in discussion threads. The avatar turns out to be a perfect personal branding tool.


In 2010, Joost starts his own company: Yoast. The company focuses on website optimization.

Joost asks Erwin Brouwer to update the original design by Paul Madden and expand upon it. More and more avatars make their way into Joost’s presentations, replacing stock imagery. changes in 2010 as well. The new design is a lot cleaner and removes the windmill and with it, the first iteration of the Joost avatar.


2012 is a hallmark year for Yoast in many ways. Joost hires Michiel in the beginning of the year. Several other people follow at the end of 2012, Mijke, Joost’s brother Thijs and illustrator Erwin.

In August of 2012 another new site design launches, featuring avatars in the header on every page.


Yoast grows from a single person to a team of 21 in early 2015.

Every team member gets a personal avatar. The avatar style keeps developing and the process of making them gets more streamlined by the day. The latest avatars are more rounded and detailed in comparison to the first series.

The making of Yoast

Erwin makes all avatars in Adobe Illustrator, making them easy to scale. Every avatar has several layers to make adjustments possible and easy to do. The final artwork is then saved as an optimized png-file to make them easy to load.

Coming up next!

19 Responses to The evolution of Yoast avatars & we’re doing a redesign!

  1. Bang Joel
    Bang Joel  • 9 years ago

    So Beautifully. I Love it. Can you Tell me ?? How to use it??

  2. Claudiu
    Claudiu  • 9 years ago

    Hello Joost,
    Any teaser about the new redesign? Are you changing the content width for the blog? Moving away from Arial? Give us something ! :)

  3. Ratchaphol @SMMTIPS
    Ratchaphol @SMMTIPS  • 9 years ago

    Hi Yoast, actually i’m also working on my personal site. I found that it’s very difficult to make something lookalike but still iconic.

    In my opinion i like Yoast mascot in 2010-2011 the most as i think it’s the most iconic and simple, now it is much more realistic thought.

    Great evolution however!

  4. Percy Chattey Books
    Percy Chattey Books  • 9 years ago

    Hi Guys. Your post is F.A.B. I bought and I am studying your fist book . So far so good. Thank you.
    You and your team rock and I am sure you will go from strength to strength. In fact I would not be surprised if Yoast SEO tools are sought up by the Big Boys for many $$$millions… good luck for the future. :-)

  5. Peer Teeuwen
    Peer Teeuwen  • 9 years ago

    Great infographic and congratulations with 5 years of!

    One thought: As you are known as your avatar, will you now stay the same age forever, like Donald Duck or Bart Simpson?

  6. Brian Edmondson
    Brian Edmondson  • 9 years ago

    Great infographic – love the cartoons!


  7. Michael Ecklund
    Michael Ecklund  • 9 years ago

    I started to regularly follow your website in 2008 and I’m still some-what of a regular follower as of today. Your website and plugins have changed for the better over time and continue to make a positive impact on the WordPress community. Definitely one of my top WordPress idols for multiple reasons. Keep it up Joost and Yoast! :D

  8. Ahmad Imran
    Ahmad Imran  • 9 years ago

    Joost De Valk – I am a silent admirer of the SEO by Yoast plugin. It has helped me to achieve several of my articles on the first page for my target keywords. Simply put, I can not praise it enough.

    Thanks for a brilliant plugin and a wealth of information through your guides. I am a tech-reviewer and getting my homework done for a nice and powerful review about this plugin in the future.

  9. Rob R.
    Rob R.  • 9 years ago

    Your plugin link for SEO Premium page is not found.

  10. Jason Noblett
    Jason Noblett  • 9 years ago

    Congratulations on the meteoric success you have achieved within the industry. Well done to the whole team!

  11. Wendy
    Wendy  • 9 years ago

    So cute and so beautiful. The redesign is great.

  12. Bishal Biswas
    Bishal Biswas  • 9 years ago

    No doubt, Yoast has evolved a lot. Amazing concepts of the mascots, it inspires me having ’em one.

    Thanks for update.

  13. karimunjawa
    karimunjawa  • 9 years ago

    cute avatar :D
    new avatar new yoast… !!!

  14. Phids
    Phids  • 9 years ago

    Definitely worked as a branding device in my mind. It’s kind of gutsy to put your own likeness in cartoon form and use it to represent your company/services, but it worked. As I saw the avatars improve over the years, in the back of my mind I figured Yoast must be getting more successful.

    Ingenious, really.

  15. Peter Vandever
    Peter Vandever  • 9 years ago

    You guys should do a tutorial on them sometime :)

  16. Nigel Abery
    Nigel Abery  • 9 years ago

    G’day Yoast, interesting post. Not sure what keyword you are targeting but a fun and informative read. The early avatars are so cute, especially the 2007-2011 one in the suit.
    It is always fun to look back in time and think “what was I thinking with those acid wash denim jeans” or whatever. It is also great to hear of your success from one person to twenty!

    • Joost de Valk

      Not all posts target a keyword Nigel :)

      • Nigel Abery
        Nigel Abery  • 9 years ago

        Hi Joost, you may not be targeting a keyword but you are now ranking #1 in google for “avatar redesign”, “evolution redesign”, “evolution avatars” and probably others. WOW! Yoast is just so authoritative. Seriously awesome!

  17. Hans van Eijsden
    Hans van Eijsden  • 9 years ago

    Just art. Simple and beautiful! :)