Maddy Pease spent her summer poolside with a Crayola marker in hand.
While the third-year design media arts student worked at a swim and tennis club, she used markers and paper lying around the facility to design letters, stars and hearts.
Pease’s poolside drawings became the foundations of her first sticker pack for iOS. She turned her sketches into animated designs, which Apple device owners have downloaded from the App Store more than 2,000 times. Pease said creating the free sticker pack – titled “Maddy’s First Sticker Pack” on the App Store – allowed her to experiment with color and software.
Sticker packs are app extensions which consist of small images – or stickers – that can be added to messages sent through iMessage on a device running iOS 10 or later. Pease said she first discovered sticker packs last spring, but was dismayed with the limited selection available on the App Store. One of the sticker packs Pease first downloaded consisted of images ofcats doing silly things.
“It’s like ‘Okay, this is cool … but it’s not personal to me and I never would use it as much as I wanted to,’” she said.
Pease said she wanted to make a sticker pack she could use regularly with her friends, so her sticker pack consists of phrases Pease and her friend Kathryn Vaccaro use together in everyday conversation. The stickers feature pet names and inside jokes between the two, such as a sticker with the phrase “baby boo,” written in a bright, pear-green color. The pair uses the phrase as a nickname for each other.
“These things I say literally on the daily, and that was the whole point,” Pease said. “All of these (stickers) have stories behind them.”
Pease and her friends constantly send each other stickers from the pack, and Vaccaro said she uses Pease’s sticker pack regularly, even with people who don’t know Pease personally.
Pease began developing her sticker pack by sketching designs with the arts and crafts supplies at her work. She then took pictures of them with her phone and used Adobe Photoshop to color and animate them.
“It’s all hand-drawn, which is what I like and I use that in all of my work,” she said. “I think hand-drawn typology has a very organic and beautiful feel to it – something that you can’t get when you type or with most typefaces.”
Pease said she also experimented with different color combinations, discovering new color schemes she now uses in her artwork, including a hot-pink and pear-green combo present throughout the sticker pack that she later used while designing her personal resume.
Pease said although the design process went smoothly, the technological side of creating the sticker pack was a bit more difficult. Pease used online tutorials to learn the basics of Xcode, a software used to develop apps and app extensions.
She also consulted her sister’s friend Ryan McLeod, an independent app designer and developer, who helped her program the pack to work properly on iMessage and figure out the logistics of getting the sticker pack into the App Store. McLeod said sticker packs can be a good starting point for people interested in learning how to get an app up and running on the App Store.
Pease said waiting for Apple to approve the sticker pack took a while, but her pack passed the review process – in which Apple checks for privacy issues and other malfunctions – every step of the way.
She added she enjoyed learning the new programming and animating skills necessary to create the pack, as well as the process behind developing apps and app extensions.
“As often as I can, I’m always trying to learn something new that not a lot of people know how to do, just because I find those things most fascinating,” Pease said.