Love them or loathe them with a passion, emojis now rule the world. What started out as simple symbols on Japanese mobile phones in the 1990s have morphed into a fully fledged language, complete with academic studies and a very questionable film. But how can you get in on the act and create your own custom emojis?
We’ve put together a guide showing how to craft symbols for use on social media and Slack.
How to create my own emoji: Bitmoji
Unfortunately, you can’t make your own “proper” Unicode emoji, as these are tightly controlled by the Unicode Consortium in Silicon Valley (boo!). However, you can do the next best thing using the very entertaining and popular Bitmoji app for iOS or Android. This allows you create an emoji version of yourself to share via SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
After you’ve downloaded the app and signed up via email, it’s time to create your avatar. As you’d expect, there are hundreds of options: you can control everything from eye colour to body shape, jawline, nose shape, outfit and pupil size. Here’s yours truly in emoji form:
Once you’ve pieced yourself together Frankenstein-style, you can explore the vast range of emojis and share them via social media (even Google+, whatever that is), email and SMS.
Just be warned that some of the emojis are bizarre, to say the least…
How to create my own emoji: Slack
Many of us now spend our working lives on Slack, panicking under the weight of endless notifications and GIFs from colleagues. The Big Tech Question is no exception – it’s where we post ideas, some better than others, and iron out technical difficulties.
Luckily, Slack makes it incredibly easy to create your own custom emoji. First, head to the dropdown menu underneath your username in the top-left corner of the window and click “Customize Slack”. This will bring up a “Customize Your Workspace” page with an Emoji tab.
Type the name of your emoji into the “Choose a name box”. Note that the name of your emoji must be lowercase and can’t contain spaces or most punctuation. The simpler, the better.
Now you have to upload your image, which must be fewer than 128 pixels in width and height. I’ve decided to go for The Big Tech Question logo, but it can be an image of absolutely anything: from a picture of your dog to Sheffield Town Hall. Just make sure that it’s work-appropriate. Once the form is filled in, click the green “Save New Emoji” button. You will then be given an example of how it looks in a sentence and…
Read next: How can I learn to play the theremin online?