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Kims

iOS Sticker Pack • Personal • 2016

Kims is a sticker pack I designed for Messages in iOS. I set myself a challenge to complete a set of stickers for 1 week and have them released on the App Store.

They're absolutely free and you can download them for your iPhone or iPad!

Background

On the same week that iOS 10 got released, my personal computer (MacBook Pro) had to be serviced for repairs. I was left with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and the iMac. I then found the perfect opportunity to work on the stickers.

I performed a quick and small survey on Facebook and Tumblr to see what reactions I would get from the sticker design.

I was overwhelmed at how positively they were received which instilled confidence and gave the motivation for me to complete them. Even strangers approached me how great they looked when I was commuting with the iPad Pro. Periodically, I would show off bits at various stages from sketches to inking to colours.

On Friday 23rd September, the stickers were released! Coincidentally, the Verge published an article on how to make sticker packs for iOS. What timing.

Design

Kims are based on an original character I draw regularly named "Kim". Instead of going for the usual style, I wanted to go for a more "illustrative" style to complement the nature of stickers' usage and size.

One of the toughest parts of the design wasn't the actual drawing itself but deciding on what expressions to have. Many stickers are designed for universal appeal so this meant creating enough expressions users could relate.

Example stickers of Kims

Process

Each sticker starts out as a digital pencil sketch done on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil using the Paper by 53 app. The Apple Pencil feels great for making quick sketches and note-taking.

They later get exported onto my Surface Pro 4 where I do the inking. Unlike the Apple Pencil, I find the Surface Pro Pen to have some resistance which is great for inking smooth curves and lines. The program I used was Clip Studio Paint which has some amazing brush settings similar to Paint Tool SAI.

Image of the inking process done on the Surface Pro 4

Back on the iPad, the inked lineart gets exported into the Procreate app where I apply base colours. I also get to alter the lineart and make last minute modifications as I see fit.

Then into Adobe Photoshop on my iMac, the near-finished stickers get special effects applied before being resized for the final stage.

Process of Kim stickers from pencil sketch to ink to fully coloured

Finally, the artwork gets imported into Xcode, used for iOS development. I get to test them and deploy to my devices for a final review then publish the app through iTunes Connect. Perhaps the best part of the whole process is that, there is no code involved. Anyone can make a sticker pack!

Reflection

In the end, I created 30 stickers! 21 portrait stickers that act as a replacement for emoji. 9 Full body stickers for adding a touch to inline previews such as images or web links.

As of 18th October 2016, the stickers had been downloaded 40 times with 1,100 impressions. Interestingly, 2/3 of the stickers were downloaded from the United States and the rest from the United Kingdom.

Considering I hardly marketed my stickers and just shown to my friends, I'm very happy with the stickers and it was fun to do.

In case you missed the link, you can download them here and they're free!

One question I always get asked, will there be more stickers?