Design of

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:56, 24 September 2019 by (talk) (License and copyright: I fixed an error that could imply that he doesn't want people to credit him.)
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  • Here the current design of the front page (and other features of the page) will be described.


  • The front page consist of four segments.
    • They are all white areas split apart from each other and with the light blue gray background color showing up in between them.
    • The four segments have rounded corners but are else in the shape of three rectangles and one square
  • The first segment:
    • xkcd links:
      • It is the square one. It is at the top left of the page, with just a thin line of the background showing above it and below it and to its right.
      • It contains links to other pages on xkcd see below.
  • The second segment:
    • Header
      • This has the same height as the first segment but takes up a thin rectangle making those two first segments have the same total width from left to right as the two segments below. And the lines around it where the background can be seen is as in the previous segment.
      • On a broad computer screen at full resolution and 100% zoom there will be broad bands of the background on each side of these centered segments.
      • In this segment are the following items (see below for more on these)
        • The logo of xkcd to the left. (The logo image is a link to, and will take you to the front page from other comics).
        • Next to the logo to the right is an explanation of what the comic is about.
        • And below these two there will be a changing message, the header text.
  • The third segment:
    • Main comic
      • This is the main segment where the comics are. And on the front page the newest comic will always be displayed.
      • So that this is changing three times a week is not considered a change to the front page design.!
      • This segment is as broad as the two above together and as broad as the one below it has a rectangular shape most of the time, but is shapes it self after the height of the comic.
      • See more below.
      • Around the entire segment there is a thin line where the background can be seen.
  • The fourth segment:
    • Bottom segment
      • This is the final segment below the main comic segment. It is just as wide as that above but has a fixed dimension.
      • The first is a line of five Footer comics. These can chance over time see below.
      • Beneath is a link to two feeds.
      • Beneath these is a list Comics I enjoy
      • Beneath these there is a footnote.
        • Previously there also been a Warning, but this has been removed and the footnote changed shortly thereafter.
        • See Warning and footnote
      • Finally there is the License and copyright statements at the very bottom.
      • Beneath that there is an empty white part and then the bottom of the page is reached.
        • Only the shadow of this last segments edge can be seen at the bottom, the background color is not visible below.

xkcd links

  • Below are the links at the top left of the page to navigate around on
    • If they change then make a note of what they where in the past (with webarchive link if possible)
  • Archive
  • What If?] (see what if?)
  • Blag] (see Blag: The Blag of the webcomic).
  • Store
  • About
  • Feed • (The atom feed that has long been in the feeds below the footer comics.
  • Email (add you e-mail address and subscribe "To receive the comic and news postings in your inbox").

Changes to the links

  • On 2019-06-11, as the header text changed to announce the How To book tour, two new links was also added to the xkcd links.
    • The Feed • which is an XML file showing some details about the most recent comics.
    • Email where people can subscribe to news.
      • The day before, 2019-06-10, only the original five links were present.
  • On 2012-04-27 while 1048: Emotion was up the five links changed to be listed in the current one column style.
  • On 2012-04-03 while [1037: Umwelt]] was on the front page the links is written in two columns rather than in one.
  • Before this there are a period on the web archive where the comic has bot been store properly.
  • But all the way back to the start of the current design on 2006-07-10 there where five links in one column. They where not the same as today, but not that far off:
    • About
    • News
    • Forums
    • RSS Feed
    • Store


  • The header consist of:
    • The logo:
      • The four letters x k c and d are there in a gray blue color in front/on top of a faded out drawing in similar color:
      • A table with a shining old and big computer screen is behind the x, the rest of the table and an office chair at the end of the table behind the k, a guy with thin dark hair (resembling an early version of Hairy) behind the c and finally Black Hat behind the d. The two are facing each other, so Hairy has his back to the table. The line in the d goes straight up through the stick figure body of Black Hat ending in his round head just below the Black Hat.
    • A description of the comic next to the logo in two lines that says:
      • A webcomic of romance,
      • sarcasm, math, and language.
    • Beneath all this there is some kind of message the Header text which may change over time.

Main comic

  • This is where the comics are displayed.
    • Above the comic is the title in large bold letters.
      • As always Randall uses a small caps font. By copying text to another program without the font, it shows as normal letters with both capital and normal letters.
    • Below the title and above the main comic image there is a row of buttons. These are fairly standard:
      • The two outermost with "arrow all the way back" |< or >| takes the user to either the first or the latest comic.
      • Next to those are the < Previous and the Next > buttons taking the user to the two nearest comics to the one displayed.
      • In the middle is the Random button comic which chooses a random comic.
        • If the user is on the main page, the two buttons that points to the right will not do anything as the newest comic is displayed already.
      • The same buttons are also beneath the comic.
    • The comic is thus between these two rows of buttons. For smaller comics this is not so relevant, but for longer big comics the buttons is at hand when only one row can be seen either at the top or at the bottom.
    • Finally beneath the second row of bottoms there are two links.

Bottom segment

  • An image can be found here on the footer comics page.

Footer comics

  • Five footer comics has been used at the bottom of xkcd almost from the beginning after only was used to post comics.
  • They are likely selected to give a broad specter of the content and most likely are to some of Randall's own favorites (or users favorites).
  • They have changed at least twice since the first was used back in February 2006 before they changed a third time to the current five comics in August 2010.
  • They changed for the fourth time on 1 March 2019 to the present version with Earth Temperature Timeline in addition to the five previous comics.


  • There are links to two xkcd feeds below the footer comics. And on 2019-02-06 also a link to Email, where it is possible to subscribe for news, was added.

Comics I enjoy

  • Beneath the two feeds there is a list of Randall's favorite webcomics with links
  • Comics I enjoy:
  1. Three Word Phrase
  2. SMBC
  3. Dinosaur Comics
  4. Oglaf (nsfw)
  5. A Softer World
  6. Buttersafe
  7. Perry Bible Fellowship
  8. Questionable Content
  9. Buttercup Festival
  10. Homestuck
  11. Junior Scientist Power Hour

Other Things

Warning and footnote

At the bottom of the xkcd page there was a warning for most of the first ten and a half years, and below that there was, since 2007 a footnote. Both has been removed, but a new footnote has appeared. See the links for more information.

License and copyright

  • Randall allows people to use his comics for free as long as they do not make money on them and as long as credit him with the work.
  • There are two notes:

Changes over time

  • The design has changed many times but mainly in the beginning.
    • Below here is only meant to be a list of huge changes to the entire page.
    • Preferably only changes that can be documented with a web archive link should be used.
    • Give a date (in the correct format as shown in 1340: Unique Date) of the link first and sort after newest at the top:
  • 2006-07-10
  • 2006-02-07
    • This was how the web site looked after Randall had closed down for LiveJournal releases the week before on January 30th 2006 (with the release of 56: The Cure). The link is to the first copy on the web archive after that happened, and it was saved the day after 60: Super Bowl was released.
  • 2006-01-09
    • This was how the web sited looked three days after the second comic, 46: Secrets, was released simultaneously on both LiveJournal and xkcd. The page was saved on the 9th of January 2006, before that days comic (47: Counter-Red Spiders) had been released. Randall had taken a long break from xkcd since and had just begun posting again on both sites from January 4th 2006 with 45: Schrodinger.
      • The 41 comics released earlier throughout 2005 was at that time all included on the xkcd page as if they had been inserted on New Years day of 2006 (2006-01-01).
      • Thus disregarding that, they had almost only been released using the still going Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule from September 30th 2005, with the first being 7: Girl sleeping and the last being 39: Bowl released on December 5th 2005. Thus he took 30 days without a release from there and had released .
      • And as would be clear he also disregarded the order as the first is now 1: Barrel - Part 1 (which was though released the same day as the Girl, but still only as number 3), and the last number of those 41 comics is now 44: Love, which thus also shows that three other comics have been inserted among the first 44 to make the first xkcd release number 45.