Or, Why an 1883 Usability Standard should be followed
The Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London has glyphs embossed on columns in the galleries. They were created as simple navigation elements for those who could not read. And, perhaps, for those who could. They assisted user experience. They were accessibility and usability tools.
Favicons and Gravatars are no different.
Logos are set in four categories: glyphs, alpha-glyph, alphanumeric and combination. Logos are used for de rigueur object recognition in company propaganda. Business cards. Virtual business cards. Letterhead. PDFs. Banners nailed on the sides of dirigibles. Screen media. And, all manner of ephemera, marketing and public relations items, e.g., temporary tattoos. Therefore, commonsense concludes, that for brand continuity and perpetual recognition of company identity on web sites, one should use images: favicons. They assist user experience through site identification; they assist site marketing through branding.
Logos as glyphs as favicons. Favicons are ‘Favorite Icons’.
Favicons are seen in RSS newsreaders. Favicons are seen in favorite bookmarks folders. Favicons are seen in browser toolbars. Favicons are seen in browsers URL windows. Favicons have been seen in browser History files. Favicons have been seen in AdSense skyscraper adverts. And, in all cases, favicons are placed before text.
Object recognition or text amnesia? I’ll acknowledge that I suffer from text amnesia. Especially, when glyphs are set before text. I scan for glyphs in my bookmarks and browser history files. And, should search engines ever include glyphs in their search results, I would first scan for sites with glyphs known to me before looking for other results.
Glyph logos or modified alpha-glyph logos make for memorable favicons.
There were various articles and posts written during Spring  regarding search engine optimization effects obtained from favicons. And, then favicons resurfaced in Winter  but was twisted from SEO effectivity into an aspect of web site design professionalism. To Favicon Or Not? by Performancing succinctly reduces those various memes.
Do favicons make sites have higher page ranks? No. Do favicons make sites have higher rank prominence in search engine results? No. Do favicons make any SEO difference? No. Do favicons represent design professionalism? Maybe.
Favicons are simple to make but if you can’t, I would suggest FavIcon from Pics found on Chami.com.
Funny thing, though. I cannot remember any references about gravatars on these SEO sites. Gravatars are ‘Globally Recognised Avatars’. If you’ve got a favicon, you should have a gravatar. They provide for immediacy of site identity and/or author identity when commenting on sites that have gravatars enabled. Site recognition in perpetuity.
Gravatars are generated by Gravatar.com.
An accessibility (and, usability) standard set in 1883 should be followed.