Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Humaaans: Mix-and-match illustrations of people with a design library (humaaans.com)
355 points by plurby 84 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 117 comments

Favourited. Really nice work and impressive landing page.

Would love to have an online tool for this also, as others have said.

The style of work really reminds me of undraw [1]

[1] https://undraw.co

> A constantly updated collection of beautiful svg images that you can use completely free and without attribution.

Designers are my new favorite people. I have to go out now and meet some.

Sounds like you will soon find us in line at the soup kitchen. /s

Oh my god, the real gold is in the comments. Can you share some other cool stuff from your bookmarks?

Undraw is like the only thing I have to mind that I've noticed isn't as widely known. Perhaps these:

- https://cruip.com

- https://unsplash.com

- https://feathericons.com

- Why didn't I get any money from my startup? - A guide to Liquidation Preferences and Cap Tables [1]

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/comments/a8f6xz/why_didnt_...

http://draftss.com is also coming up with something similar soon.

My only issue with unDraw (and Unsplash) is that the license isn't conclusively a free software license due to the "don't scrape our site and run a competing service" clause(s). I'd be more comfortable with it if they more clearly separated the license into one for the assets themselves (preferably something like CC0 or an ISC-like license) v. one for the site itself (which would be the right place for a "no scraping" rule).

The impact's minimal, but it still rubs me a smidge wrongly.

Something's fascinating to me. Clearly there's a lot of diversity. But there also isn't. I don't associate with any of it. Not because I'm a green space monster. But where's the potbellied, grizzled 55 year old welder? Or the "I hate kale, more bacon please" mother of three? Everyone looks so... Chic and young and modern and... Silicon Valley.

Is it the art style? Is that the point? Is that what the robotic "HUMAAAAN" is teasing? That these aren't anything like real humans?

It's advertart. There's a depth of absolute cynicism in it that is well represented by the lack of faces - and of any diversity outside of the superficial. Pose-able lies, for use by liars, to sell bullshit for companies that don't care.

Doesn't advertising largely play to aspiration? Isn't that largely how we live our lives? I'd bet most people who look at a guy in a Ferrari don't think "he looks good in that car!" They think "I'd look good in that car" or similar.

It's tough to appeal to everyone, especially with images like this. Therefore isn't the safer bet to go for a 'middle of the road' aspirational image that's _close enough_ to the target demographic the product is generally associated with and for the most part doesn't offend or put off anyone, even if it doesn't exactly hit the mark?

>I don't associate with any of it. Not because I'm a green space monster.

When I checked I didn't see any white people, so assuming that you are white the explanation for your reaction is probably just that your race isn't represented. People identify more with other people that look like them. If you had a kid from China draw a picture of some people they would all look Chinese, so my guess is that the author of the page is from a country that's mostly black and Hispanic. They might not even have noticed that they left white people out.

In that light the "real humans" comment comes across as a little weird, though, so maybe this doesn't explain your reaction. Although if it helps clear the air, I'm fine with pointing out that I would prefer to use an icon pack that included white people, after all that's me.

> In that light the "real humans" comment comes across as a little weird

But that's the light painted by you, not OP. OP gave very specific and valid examples of types of people that are missing. OP said, nor implied, anything about race. That's your straw man, and yours alone.

The only thing that's weird is that an illustration library called "humaaans" is no where near diverse enough to represent humans.

>But that's the light painted by you, not OP.

Right, I'm saying that's the most accurate light. I'm not trying to accuse the OP of anything.

It's actually the least accurate light, and a straw man argument fabricated by you alone. The criticisms about the lack of diversity have nothing to do with race, neither explicitly nor implied.

It's not a fabricated straw man, it's my actual opinion. (Typically a straw man would be a caricature of your opponent's opinion). I used to roll my eyes when people added new skin colors to emoji options, but now that someone left off people that look like me, I understand that it's a nice gesture to be included.

> If you had a kid from China draw a picture of some people they would all look Chinese

That may be OK, but I can't think of a country where 80% of people are female?

At this point we're splitting hairs down to the subatomic level, but that can be explained by pointing out that the author made more distinct female hair styles than male hair styles.

How do you know the woman on the splash page isn't a mother of three who hates kale?

I'm serious. What does that look like to you?

He's saying someone who is very overweight, I assume. I felt he was saying it in a diplomatic fashion?

Okay, I guess I can see that. Would have been clearer if they just said what they meant. I live somewhere (not in America) where having 3 kids and hating kale means you look normal. It isn't some code for "very overweight".

I think you make a good point, and I think the idea was different body sizes may not be represented.

Also I assumed the gender of the original comment, could be a she, if so, I apologize. I use he in a generic way, but seeing your post you used they.

You could always skew the image on the horizontal axis if you wanted broader people.

It's often said that one should not skew fonts.

But that's beside the point, I was only explaining what I think he was saying.

>It's often said that one should not skew fonts.

Which is neither here not there, as these are not fonts.

The idea is that distorting images, logos, or text end up with bad proportions, which the original designer did not intend. Scaling an image of a human wider does not create the illusion of being fat.

Similar idea, fonts and design are hand in hand.

Because she has the same styling as seen on people in Whole Foods and trendy startup ads...

I love this effort. But sort of wish it wasnt just a drop-box site and rather a site where others could contribute and tag-index their contributions. This way, you could contribute the persona you're missing.

Yeah, you're right!

You also got me thinking about how some of the tools here lend themselves to assembling then contributing additional elements. Ie. drag out existing elements, do some basic vector drag and drop and editing, paint bucket, border thickness, etc. "Submit for peer review" (which can be a Pull Request).

perhaps the CC license allows you to fork the project and do with it whht you waaaaaant?

They're marketing materials. They often don't represent everyone, but rather a specific set of customer demographics.

Like the pregnant men demographic apparently.

I've done my best to construct a "humaaan" that matches my own appearance (30s fat balding Russian dude), but the closest I got was the pregnant hipster lady. Oh well.

You may be using the wrong definition of diversity. It's often used to mean containsminorities(thing) == true vs giniindex(thing) == high .

It either (1) looks like people you know, or (2) doesn’t look like people you know, in which case you notice everyone is young and healthy and happy (desirable traits). If you’re in the first group you definitely don’t want to see imagery of pot belly welders.

They don't have faces, I'm not sure if they look happy. In fact, not having faces communicates to me the complete absence of indication.

That said, it's a cool project but I wouldn't use it just because the art style clashes so much with anything I would design. It looks like Word clip-art, imvho.

Also, where are the front-facing people?

It's probably more difficult to draw people front-facing. Most videogames and cartoons show the characters from the side.

Also, to make a realistic drawing of a building it is difficult to paint from a point of view that is directly in the front, because you must hint the 3D shapes with the shadows and the draws. It's much easier to draw it from a point of view that is somewhere on the side, in front of a corner, like 45° or something like that. The perspective alone makes the 3D part visible, and the shadows only help to make the 3D effect better.

Nice! This came at just the right time for me too.

I find the general attitude in this comment section curious, though; lots of people are arguing about the skin tone choice which is notably brown. Yet I feel that if it were lighter in shade, there would be much less grumbling and criticism about not including every single possible body shape?

The more often I see this discussion flare up in comment sections, the more I appreciate the wisdom behind the "Ikea Person" in their assembly instructions.

I searched for the background so I could read up on that. Didn't find it, but did find this...which is also interesting: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/17/resea...

The author left out white people, and since he's white himself and from California the "he just doesn't live around white people" explanation that I was originally going for can't be right.

If he had left out a people group that he didn't see very often (if he lived in Nigeria that could be white people, if he lived in Norway that could be Native Americans) then nobody would be upset. But all signs point to this being some kind of misguided political expression. I can see why everyone is riled up; it's (apparently intentionally) tapping in to one of the lava pools of "this is unfair" sloshing around America these days.

Nah, there's a simple explanation. Humaaans uses an artistic style of solid patches of color against a white background. Very light skin tones work terribly in this style because they disappear into the background.

If true that would be hilarious, but I don't see how we could ever know for sure. If the real reason were unsavory, there would be an overwhelming social bias not to reveal it; and as a result even a true, positive answer wouldn't help.

I made a white humaaan for you. It has some readability problems. :)


If you ever feel that you need to know the skin color of a project's author in order to judge it properly then you are the one with the problem.

That's often true, but sometimes there is a cultural context. Knowing what kind of environment the author hails from casts light on interpretation more often than it does not, in fact. In this case, knowing that the author was not a Nigerian (for example) showed that the theory that "there are no light skin tones because the artist is not used to seeing them," is false.

Why do you need a theory to explain the skin tones? Why does it matter at all? What is so triggering for you about a web page without a depiction of a white person?

>Why does it matter at all?

I'm not sure if it does, but the topic was being discussed so I joined in.

>What is so triggering for you about a web page without a depiction of a white person?

I'm not sure if "triggering" is the right word to use, but although I used to think that representation didn't matter (a la skin tone variants in emojis) I now realize that it's a nice gesture to be included in art asset packs and marketing material. Next time someone talks about how they added twelve different versions of a thumbs up asset I'll roll my eyes a little less hard. ;)

I didn't download the library, but I don't think the author left out white people. Here's a screenshot from the humaaans page that looks white to me. [1] Edit: another commenter showed pale skin tone in the library [2].

Even if you change the complaint to being about low white representation, it's also a little unfair to say that the author is "intentionally" trying to make it political. What about their work or documentation gives you an idea on their intention?

[1] https://imgur.com/a/wbmyIRG

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18997437

>What about their work or documentation gives you an idea on their intention?

I want to get in to this tarpit less than anybody else on earth, but after trying to come up with another explanation, I wasn't able to. The artist depicted a skin tone balance that is significantly different from what they're used to seeing, and the only reason for that that I can think of is if they were consciously attracted to the political side.

Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? No, of course not. In fact, I think the artist has a right to make a political statement if they want to. I might even agree with it. I'm just trying to take the discussion from 99% truth to 99.9% truth.

I might be wrong (and although it would sting my ego, in the long rung I would be happier if I was wrong), but I feel like this is one of those "everyone sees it but nobody is allowed to mention it" social things that is the bane of humanity. This project is definitely noteworthy because of the skin tone distribution of its front page, that's clear enough from observation.

Pablo Stanley is Mexican.

I find it unsettling that people here try to read too much into this choice, it was released a month ago on Designer News and there's not a single mention about it:


I didn't really notice the skin tone, but immediately keyed in on the age and anatomy, since those are the things I've most often noticed being neglected when people depict human beings. No children, no elderly, no genitals seems to be the image of humanity we want.

OT: The word "Humaaans" makes me think of the Ferengi from Star Trek.

E.g. https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/63716/why-do-the-f...

Bjork's "Human Behavior" immediately popped into my head.

"If you ever get close to a humaaaan..."

Interesting how I did not notice any issues with the library until I came to the comments and there were several mentions of implicit racism. There is some projection going on here.

Upon reviewing the site again, there are some lighter skin tones that I would identify with as a pale white man, if I really cared.

The commenters jumping all over the "I'm not represented" angle are likely the same people who would opine "identity politics is killing this country" if the situation were reversed.

Either way, these are SVG files and can be edited to switch out colors. That's the whole point of a library like this.

>Upon reviewing the site again, there are some lighter skin tones that I would identify with as a pale white man,

I looked through it and I have to disagree, the skin tones are all dark. There is no reason to call that racist though, maybe the author just doesn't see a lot of white people in whatever country they live in.

Edit: ouch, I guess my optimism was misplaced. Given that he's from California, it really does look like the author was making a political statement.

It appears he lives in California https://mobile.twitter.com/pablostanley

Is it possible to add beard to the drawings?

Is there an online version that is posible to use without installing the library in my machine?

Thanks! I don't understand something: Is this a full demo, or an example with only a few features / images?

This demo doesn't have autosnap (I'm not sure about the official name).

Also, I can't change the color of the hair, but it is not clear if it is possible in the original version.

This looks like the generic "people" artwork you see in so many places.

I think that's exactly the point.

Indeed. Clipart is low culture.

Low culture is necessary and perfectly fine. Still, a lot of work went into releasing these free generic illustrations. Also, the more free clip art is available and used everywhere the quicker it will go out of style.

I think the ambiguity is what makes clip-art attractive, you can recognize people you know in them, while with the other extreme, actual photos, it would look like a stranger

That is exactly what it is

I think that's the goal

What would be an interesting side-project would be to apply some machine learning, so a user could describe the kind of person / activity in a sentence and it would be generated using this.

This is a quick and easy way to add a humane touch to a landing page and other similar content with the added benefit of being free (CC Attribution 4.0).

This is awesome. Going to add it to a project that I was working on a new landing page for today.

For a bit of constructive criticism, the name makes the project really difficult to discover. I remembered having seen this on HN a couple of days ago, but when I went to look it up, I remembered it as "Humans with a few extra A's or U's," and I had to Google five or six variations before I found it. One too few or one too many A's will not bring up your project. I'm not sure if this is a lack of SEO, or a function of how Google treats misspelled words.

Other than that, looks like a beautifully designed library, and looking forward to putting it to work.

Nice little Daft Punk easter egg in the panel with the "Nothing Found" example page (https://genius.com/Daft-punk-digital-love-lyrics), and the ending statement "We are humaaan after all." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_After_All)

I managed to get Daft Punk and Level 42 simultaneously stuck in my head.

On a Windows PC, what (free, open source) drawing program would I use to create illustrations using these pieces?


( out of topic ) similar to material design, metro design, what is this website using?

I'm using this on my landing page. The illustrations are beautiful and the way Pablo Stanley organizes all the assets in Sketch is amazing. Also note, Humaaans is under CC 4.0

This is really neat! Reminds me of the style Airbnb, Stripe and Dropbox uses.

Now that this art style is freely available, prepare to see it slathered over every new startup promising an API for your SaaS that integrates with their PaaS and builds a future-proof IaaS.

Hope you're using AI and machine learning to do that on the blockchain.

Of course! Our cloud-native, Agile-first team of DevOps rockstars are working on that as we speak.

Great execution and right on the money with style

Looks like the artwork used on Google Fi website.

This is the new version of stock photos for lazy and conformist people. But instead of having some young attractive models smiling at the camera with a flipchart in their hands, now you get a fast-food-style illustration, devoid of soul and personality, identical to the other designs used by some other startup, that's going to age like milk and will require a rebranding in two years. tl;dr — it's a fad.

That's tech industry marketing in a nutshell though. How many startup homepages promise "seamless integration with your stack" or "first-class customer experience" and fail to deliver?

Nokia's tagline back in the day used to be "Connecting People", and yet today it is FB that brazenly repeats this ad nauseam in its press statements each time another breach of user privacy is revealed.

I hope that fad dies fast; I hate this particular style with passion. I don't mean colors, or even lack of faces - I mean proportions. The worst offender is Facebook, I get angry whenever I have to look at their twisted, large-bodied, small-headed monsters that are meant to represent human beings. Smh.

I like that you said fast food illustration. That flatness is becoming draining. I assume it's a product of the tool Illustrator, which is very shape based.

I can't find the SVG files?

There are several prominent "get the library" links on the page that lead to Dropbox where you can download the whole package. SVGs are in the "flat assets -> Humaaans" folder.

What is the font?

This is great, and I really, really love the inclusive-by-default approach.

Where inclusive == everybody is brown skinned?

I noticed the use of wheelchair users, and the different skin tones used on the landing page. I hadn't looked into the actual resources so hadn't seen that they are not in fact offered in a range of tones. Oh well!

Yeah, inclusive how?

> inclusive-by-default

Except for people with pale skin... I guess.

I noticed this when I tried to make a diverse scene on the online tester .. could only make a scene full of people with similar darker skin tones. Not that diverse at all.

Come on guys, literally took me like 15s to change the colors and make pale skin, I think you are missing the point here. https://www.figma.com/file/cS2mfgCHEtB9k0XpbZFCNkdK/humaaans...

Would you react the same if the set came only with pale skin and you had to do the customization for darker skin?

I will answer with a solution :) Actually, would be really cool to add some code to this, improve the website, with a small UI where you can change: color clothes and skin tone using some presets. edit: grammar

I agree

If we were all from Nigeria, yes, but since most of HN is US and Europe it would likely go unnoticed. People from black majority areas in the US would also notice; the general point being that everyone is comparing it to whatever their every day experience is.

All the skin tones are mid-brown, there is nothing darker and nothing lighter, though this would be an easy thing to change when using the library. Interesting how you single out pale skin.

There's a darker woman on the landing page and in the animated section there's a paler figure and couple darker.

Well, since all are "mid-brown" the brown skinned people are somewhat represented.

Paler skin (whites, asians, latinos) is totally missing, so not really interesting how the parent singles it out.

As a blue-skinned ginger of Scottish descent, I'm unsure why his observation has to be 'interesting' - if by 'interesting' you mean to imply racist?

Is it racist to mention that "White" people are excluded, especially when diversity seems to be so important to people? I bet that if the skin color palette was more biased towards lighter tones, there would have been some bigger outcry...

> We are humaaan after all

I'm not

Are you dancer?

where are the white humans? and the yellow humans? and the jet black humans?

I feel like the 1 skin tone is meant to be provocative, possibly be a deliberate troll, maybe start a discussion.

does the author wish to weigh in?

as a white human I feel excluded. maybe I'm attaching too much importance to skin tone as a part of identity. I think partly that's in our brains, partly it's emphasised by the media to divide us and create outrage, for power and engagement.

The average color of all human skin mixed together would probably be brown. Picking an average of everything should be highly uncontroversial.

Nobody is average.

OK, that's too short to really mean anything, so I'll elaborate. If you take the average characteristics of everyone in the world (wealth, skin tone, intelligence, BMI, height, gender, etc.), and turned that into a single person, then you would have a new, unique person. In other words, it would not "represent" anyone, and so should definitely be seen as controversial. There are a myriad of engineering stories about this discovery (one size doesn't fit all).

If anything, I would have loved to see more diversity, or at the very least a prominent message on how to achieve it. Color might be the easiest change to make, but I didn't see any old or fat people on there, or how to make those variations.

I like the overall idea of the project, though.

And the average human has roughly one testicle and breast.

They are svgs without gradients. It's pretty easy to change the skintones, even with a text editor.

Most tv and other mediums leave out minorities, so now the reverse is appauling?????

White humans are a global minority, and I think the morality of an act of misrepresentation is independent of who it's done to and of how many times it's done. So, "minority" is relative, but morality isn't. What do you think?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact