Yay! What fun! WhatsApp has finally welcomed social stickers on board. We have come a long way up the virtual expression ladder from emoticons to emojis and finally stickers! Check out the image below to see just what I mean.
Social stickers have seen an explosion in popularity in recent times, with WhatsApp being the latest messaging platform to heartily embrace them and doing one better by allowing users to create their own customized stickers and commissioning designers to do so as well.
In simple terms, social stickers are a glorified emoji- a way of expressing a feeling, a thought, or just plain old fun, that written words or the already existing armour of emojis and gifs, just won’t do! As you can see in the smooth transition from the image above, we went from having emoticons which were made of up of different characters from our keypad to now having emoji and stickers.
Stickers: A Way of Humanising Tech
The rise in popularity of social stickers has come at a time where tech is making the move to becoming more human. Before we had language we relied mostly on grunting and facial expressions. With new forms of communication, we are not always face-to-face. This is where emoji and stickers have provided a way of adding that “human touch”. As we try to humanise technology, and as brands try to become more human, these ways of communicating become even more important.
Scientists have discovered that when we look at emoji, it activates the same part of our brains as when we look at human faces. Sometimes people even mimic the emoji expression. Think about those times you read your reply to a friend’s message and the tone seems harsh, then you send a smiley face to make sure they don’t get the wrong impression. If that conversation was face-to-face you’d have given that smile, but over a message we can show the same gesture with an emoji or sticker. Researchers suggest that sending an emoticon can help reinforce a message’s meaning and increase its clarity. Emoji/stickers have become a sort of universal language of messaging platforms. We could speak two different languages, but still understand the sentiment behind the annoyed emoji face.
“Whether with a smiling teacup or a crying broken heart, stickers help you share your feelings in a way that you can’t always express with words,” WhatsApp said in a blog post announcing the change. At the moment, the selection of WhatsApp stickers seems relatively limited. But it looks set to expand as time goes on and designers take advantage of the tools that the Facebook-owned app has given them to create new ones. Stickers can be downloaded like any other app in the Google Play or App Store, and will appear in WhatsApp as soon as they are.
Stickers are much more flexible than emojis as they can be made of images, sketches, or even graphics. This adds more flexibility to the way users can express themselves. Stickers on messaging platforms are not really new, and rivals like Hike and Telegram have had this feature for years. As the stickers support continues to roll out for all WhatsApp users, one thing that is lacking is the support for making custom sticker packs.
According to the support guidelines by the company, users need to have some level of coding knowledge to make sticker pack apps that other users can install. However, it looks like the issue of creating custom sticker packs seems to have been resolved by a third-party app. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your own sticker packs, and then load them onto WhatsApp.
Before getting started, ensure that your version of WhatsApp supports the Stickers functionality. If in case you don’t have access to the functionality then you can force enable the Stickers functionality. Once you are sure that you can access the stickers feature, follow the instructions given below to create your own stickers and sticker packs. One thing to note here is that this guide is only applicable for Android users.
Steps for Creating Custom Stickers and Sticker Apps:
1) Head over to Google Play Store and locate the app with the name “Sticker maker for WhatsApp” or head to bit.ly/2PMDooy to install the app on your Android device.
2) When installed, open the app and tap on the button ‘Create a new stickerpack’ and enter the Stickerpack name along with the name of the author.
3) Open the sticker pack and you will be greeted with an empty screen with placeholders for the ‘tray icon’ along with placeholders for thirty stickers in one sticker pack.
4) Tap on the place ‘tray icon’ placeholder and the app will ask you for permission to use the camera of the phone to take pictures and video along with storage of the device to use photos, media, and files on the device.
5) Choose any image file with the ‘Select File’ option or capture the image with ‘Take Photo’ option. Once you select the file or click the image, draw an outline for the area in the image that you want to keep as the sticker. Use your finger to draw the outline and pinch and zoom to enlarge the image for an accurate cut-out.
6) Tap on the ‘Yes, Save Sticker’, and add whatever number of stickers in the sticker pack. The minimum seems to be three stickers while the maximum is capped to thirty. Once you are done with the sticker pack, tap on the ‘Publish Sticker Pack’ button towards to lower right side of the bottom.
7) Tapping the green button will give a prompt if you want to add the sticker pack to your WhatsApp. The thing to note here is that only you can use the sticker pack as it is technically side-loading the sticker pack on your system. It may be possible to export and import these stickers between different phones.
And that’s about it. You can now send all these stickers to your family and friends on personal chats, or on groups! Custom stickers on WhatsApp can help make your conversations more interesting, and also express yourself better. If you haven’t explored the world of WhatsApp social stickers yet, then have a go — trust me it’s more than just fun!