Jessica Walsh Offers Emojinal Support
By Alixandra Rutnik on Apr 23, 2020
Design icon and YG8 winner has our back when expressing ourselves through quarantine
Quarantine is really starting to take a toll on everyone’s mental health, and what better way to express how we’re feeling than with 100+ new emojis? Legendary designer and Young Guns 8 winner Jessica Walsh and her team of designers at &Walsh are gracing our hearts with a brand new line of emojis– think designer craze meets WFH slump meets COVID-19 feels all wrapped up in one neat new emoji package. These emojis are hitting right when we need them the most. Peep the golden roll of toilet paper, the “Be My Quarantine” love letter, and the beautiful can of rosé (since we are all dreaming of the summer.) We interviewed Jessica to hear more about her designer emoji line and to get the details on when we can all start using them in our online convos.
These emojis are a whole #mood — when was the &Walsh designer/WFH/2020 sucks emoji set idea born?
Our team communicates digitally via Slack, Keynote presentations, and Google Docs all the time. We started creating our own emojis for our own amusement to make our own internal communications more delightful. At some point we realized other people would enjoy them, so we decided to give them away for free.
As we began developing ideas for new emojis, we realized how many of the feelings and moods of creatives could have their very own emojis. One idea inspired the next and soon we were creating a library. As we continued working on the project through the pandemic, there was an entirely new set of emotions that we wanted to express through emojis. Working from home, social isolation, and the crazy increase in screen time required its own emojis.
An emoji really can be worth 1000 words. It can perfectly capture a universal feeling and mood with just one tiny image. Emojis are their own language, and we are really excited to add in some new vocabulary.
We have animated a handful of the emojis, which you can see on our site. We’ve also created memes using the emojis, combing them to tell a story. It has been really fun to bring each of these ideas to life even further. As for more COVID-19 themed emojis, we are definitely still ideating and thinking about what emojis convey what we are all feeling right now.
"Emojis are their own language, and we are really excited to add in some new vocabulary."
Everyone takes emojis for granted, but what was the process like to create them? I know there is 100+, but do you have a favorite one?
I think we took the art of emojis for granted prior to working on them. We assume they are simple because they are small, but their size is precisely what makes the design such a craft. There is a big difference between emojis that can work on a tiny scale, and sticker emojis that can work on Instagram stories or iMessage in larger forms. We’ve designed both in our pack, and have different ones available for download for different sizes. The slack pack for example uploads directly into slack but the emojis there are all quite small, so the design of those had to be considered differently from the ones that we made for other platforms where they can appear a little larger. There was a lot of testing involved for each platform.
For the past year, we’ve had an entire team of designers working on this. From ideation to concept to design, there are many creative team members involved in bringing the entire project to life.
The most rewarding part of creating a custom emoji set is getting to use them! We’ve already been using them to talk to each other which is a ton of fun.
Today, my favorite sticker emoji is:
...because I just finished Devs and need a new show!
I’ve been using these ones on Slack a lot:
I’ve been using this one via email a lot:
When can we expect to start texting our BFFs/coworkers/fam group chats with these new emojis and where can we find them?
On the &Walsh website, there are a variety of ways you can download the emojis. Slack emoji packs, messaging stickers, email emoji pack & as a computer font. So you can complain to your coworkers, BFFs, and anyone who speaks emoji.
We’re still waiting on app store approval to have them as a downloadable pack for iMessage, but the rest will be available today.
How are you hoping this project is received by the public?
We hope that having additional emojis to speak in makes some people's communication more delightful, or adds humor into the day. Or, we hope they could provide more tools for people to complain about how shitty life is in 2020.
How are you getting by in this most unusual time, both as a creative that has to create and as a business leader spearheading a relatively new studio?
We feel incredibly privileged that we are able to work from home and continue running our studio. Our studio is operating, as usual, both on the branding and advertising side of our business. Our team is working from home, and we have a self-contained WFH photo studio set up for our photographer, so our photo studio remains open. In spite of everything going on, we take great joy in putting beautiful and purposeful work in the world.
Our team communicates daily via Slack, and we also do Google Hangouts so we can chat via video. It’s easy to get caught up in emails and Slack all day, and while our emojis will hopefully make those conversations more delightful, facetime is still very important to keep up team spirits!
We do Hangout meetings where we talk about the state of the studio and the projects we’re working on, happy hour, or even fun things like “2 truths & a lie” to get to know our team better.
Young Guns winners and One Club for Creativity Members get featured here on the One Club website and across our social media channels. Have a new project you'd love to share? An upcoming exhibition and you'd like us to help spread the word? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.