Printing a message in the browser console with a favicon

José M. Pérez

José M. Pérez / September 26, 2013

3 min read––– views

I recently read this Steve Souder's tweet about a console.log() message that Etsy is printing out to catch developer's attention. You can see it by visiting and opening the console from the developer tools. Another good one is Pinterest.

But I thought it would be even better to show the logo of the site next to the message.

What we will be achieving

Final result showing a console.log message together with a favicon

Continue reading to know how to achieve it, or have a look at this jsFiddle.

Basic idea, compatibility and limitations of the different consoles

You can use styles in the printed messages in the console, at least on Google Chrome and Firebug (support in Firefox is limited, see below). Each of them have a limitation when trying to render the favicon. The idea is to use a style that sets the logo as the background image. Then, set its size and add some margin between the logo and the text.

Google Chrome

You can check out the section about styling the console on Google Chrome. It works, but it doesn't seem to support background-repeat: no-repeat. So if we use "%c text", the logo repeats all the way until the end of the string. Thus, we have to place the logo on the right side by doing "text %c".

Chrome doesn't interpret "background-repeat: no-repeat


Firebug, however, doesn't support custom styles using %c in a position other than the start of the string, so we need to use "%c text". In addition, neither margin-left, padding-left or text-indent push the string towards the right side to leave place to the logo, rendering the text on top of the logo. The hacky solution is to add whitespaces between the style and the text: "%c text".

A solution that works on both browsers

I haven't found a proper way to detect that the browser is using Firebug. Even if there was, we don't know whether the user opened the Firebug console or the built-in one. Although Firebug also runs on Chrome, most developers use Chrome Developer Tools on Chrome, so with some user agent sniffing (I hate it, but I can't find a more suitable way) we can use one or the other version depending on whether the browser is Chrome or not.

Final result showing a console.log message together with a favicon:

Final result showing a console.log message together with a favicon

In Firebug, the image needs to be left-aligned:

In Firebug, the image needs to be left-aligned

Below is the code I am using to render the message together with a favicon, in this case Spotify's. You can see it in action in this jsFiddle.

(function() {
  var faviconUrl = "",
      css = "background-image: url('" + faviconUrl + "');" +
            "background-repeat: no-repeat;" +
            "display: block;" +
            "background-size: 13px 13px;" +
            "padding-left: 13px;" +
            "margin-left: 5px;",
      text = "Do you like coding? Visit";
  if (navigator.userAgent.match(/chrome/i)) {
    console.log(text + '%c', css);
  } else {
    console.log('%c   ' + text, css);

Update May 8th 2014: Firefox 31 supports basic styling in its console, without the need of using Firebug. However, it only allows a subset of CSS rules that doesn't include background-image. However, even though background is supported, url() is not supported.