Custom Chat Stickers

Custom Chat Stickers - student project

When I found this project, I immediately knew I wanted to give it a go. My friends and I like to swap stickers and emojis in our group chat, and this gave me an opportunity to insert some personal quirks into our usual fare.

 

Research and Reference
Since I already knew I wanted to focus on my best friend's interests, jokes, and usual reaction images, I didn't spend any time brainstorming alternative subjects. I instead started on research to determine: 1) What stickers I really enjoyed, and 2) What made those stickers great.

  1. Stickers I really love to use on facebook include Pusheen, Trash Dove, and a handful of others. I gathered some screenshots of packs for inspiration.

    Custom Chat Stickers - image 1 - student projectCustom Chat Stickers - image 2 - student project

    I also wanted to be sure to avoid some of the things I find unpleasant in stickers, so I took note of packs I didn't like. 
    Custom Chat Stickers - image 3 - student project
  2. I found that the stickers I enjoyed utilized a lot of common elements to make them stand out:
  • Each sticker was easily identifiable among the full pack due to a variety of colors and/or compositions. Simplicity in shape and character design helped as well.
  • Emotions were clearly conveyed with unique poses, expressions, and props, even when stickers used a singular character.
  • The packs included a wide variety of emotions or ideas, giving the whole pack greater utility for a broader range of situations and responses.
  • Stickers rarely used text, leaving the expressions depicted open to wider interpretation and more flexible usage. Those that did use text usually expressed an idea more complex than, 'hello', or, 'I'm happy.'
  • On the whole, animals made for more likeable, relatable, and aesthetically pleasing characters than humans.

I also found that colors were usually not too complex, bright, or overpowering, though to some degree that's my own personal preference.

Lastly: I know my friend uses Telegram to message some of his long-distance friends, and also that Telegram allows the upload and use of custom sticker packs. The goal of my project became to upload this sticker pack for his personal use. Going off of that, I knew I had to find some more references and find inspiration from that side of the web!
Stickers by NowandLater show off a great range of emotion and poses. The artwork is clean, the animals are cute, and the use of memes is a win for use among friends.

Custom Chat Stickers - image 4 - student project

 

Sketching

I started this phase of the project by creating a list (and digital folder) of emotions, terms, and reaction images regularly used by my friend in our group chat. Secondly, I referred to other sticker packs to create a list of emotions and ideas for inspiration. Using this second list, and the Easy Eight provided in class, I mapped out the emotions and ideas I wanted to convey in my custom pack with greater structure. At this point, I planned to split the pack between donkey stickers and rat stickers.

 Custom Chat Stickers - image 5 - student project

 

Final Draft
What I ended up with was a pack of 12 donkey stickers, plus one bonus rat sticker for now. Overall, I'm happy with this set as a first attempt. I proceeded to upload the pack to Telegram to surprise my friend!

Custom Chat Stickers - image 6 - student project

Custom Chat Stickers - image 7 - student project

 

My Takeaways

  • I've never spent much time considering the possibilities of custom stickers for companies and branding, even when I know I've seen packs based on new movies and shows before. I rarely use them myself, as my entire group is never crazy about any one movie or character. I find that using stickers based off of a big-name character or brand is like an endorsement of that character or brand, and as such, is less relatable on a personal level. Unnamed, quirky characters or cute animals are better avatars for our online feelings.
  • In the future, I'd like to expand my friend's sticker pack with more general emotions for greater flexibility. I feel like too many of my stickers include words or are based around very particular reactions. This isn't bad, since the set reflects the words and phrases my friend consistently uses - my goal from the start! I just feel there are so many more possibilities I could add to flesh it out. 13 just isn't enough! Maybe I'll add more for his birthday.
  • I'm also interested in creating a more universal sticker pack as a portfolio piece, and learning to create animated stickers like I use on facebook. (Even the Pusheen set above feature some animated stickers.)