Viewers love to express themselves through emotes. It is a visual way to communicate and a vital way for you to grow your stream channel. Your subscribers will be able to spam your creations in chat and use them on other channels. How do you get emotes for your stream?
To get emotes on your channel, you must reach affiliate or partner status on Twitch. You can then upload original designs to your channel for your subscribers to use. Emotes are a great way to build your community and promote your channel. They should have simple designs as they will be tiny when posted in chat.
What Are Emotes?
Emotes are an automated bonus for people who subscribe to your stream. You can create them to be in line with your brand and generate culture within your community. Even as a novice streamer, having one or two emotes is a good way to show off your style and let your followers see what you have to offer.
How to Unlock Custom Emotes
Twitch streamers need to reach Affiliate status in order to unlock the ability to have custom emotes. To learn how you can achieve this status in a week, read our guide, How to Become a Twitch Affiliate in 7 Days.
How to Unlock Custom Emotes on Twitch
As soon as you reach Affiliate status, you will be able to submit emotes for approval. The number of emotes you are allowed to have is based on your concurrent subscriber count. When you first hit Affiliate, you will be given one slot even with no subscribers. You will also have slots for your tier 2 and tier 3 subscribers. You also unlock four sub badges for your future subscribers. As an Affiliate, you can add additional emotes to your channel as people subscribe.
Sub Points Required to Unlock Affiliate Emote Slots
In order to unlock new emote slots on Twitch, you will need to earn points through subscriptions. You will receive one slot when you become and affiliate. Your second slot will unlock when you reach 15 points. You earn points through the number of subs you have at each tier:
- Tier 1 subs + 1 point
- Tier 2 subs = 2 points
- Tier 3 subs = 6 points)
|Sub Point||Emote Slots|
In October 2019, Twitch released its “Firsts” Badge that gives the first ten subscribers to any channel a special badge. This incentive may help you push you ⅔ of the way to your next emote right off the bat.
When you reach Partner Status on Twitch, you will unlock more emotes and sub badges for your channel. As a Partner, you will have your first six emote slots unlocked. Here is how many you will get per subscriber:
Hire a Designer for Twitch Emotes
If you don’t feel comfortable designing your own emotes, you can hire a graphic artist for help. Browse different portfolios and choose a designer whose style you enjoy. Here are a few places you can look for a creator:
Visuals by Impulse
Visuals by Impulse is a great site for professional images. Their expertise can really help your emotes stand out and capture attention.
If you are just starting out, look at designers on Fiverr. Many of them are very affordable and you can get some good emotes. We had our logo designed on Fiverr and you can read about our experience.
Friends or Followers
If you have a friend or a follower who is eager to design for your stream, consider them. Talk to them about what you want and see what they can do.
Facebook Stream Groups
When looking at online designers, make sure that they have been vetted by the moderators in the group or that they come with references. You don’t want to be scammed.
Designers on Twitch
Browse the Art category and watch some designers at work. Many Twitch artists are willing to create emotes for a fee. You may even be able to collaborate with them in another way in the future. Read How to Find the Right Collabs on Twitch or Mixer for more information.
How to Design Emotes for Twitch
If you have an artistic eye and want to design them yourself, there are a few programs you can use. Here are a few of our favorites:
GIMP is a free software that offers several design elements. It also enables you to have a clear background.
Affinity Photo/Affinity Designer
You can purchase Affinity products such as Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer for a one-time fee. They offer a host of professional design tools.
Adobe Photoshop/Adobe Illustrator
The Adobe suite has dominated the design community for well over a decade. With continually updated tools, you can do virtually anything with their software.
Twitch Emote Sizes
Twitch requires you to upload three emote sizes. These sizes are 28px by 28px, 56px by 56px, and 112x by 112x. They need to be in a PNG format and they can’t be larger than 25kb each. Twitch also asks that emotes are uploaded with transparent backgrounds.
How Long Does it Take for Twitch to Approve Emotes?
Twitch emotes are usually approved within 48 hours, but can take much longer. If there have been several submissions at once or if you submit it shortly before a holiday season, it could take a week or longer. Occasionally, you will hear about an emote being approved within 24-36 hours.
How Long Does it Take for a Partner’s Emote to Be Approved by Twitch?
An emote submitted by a Twitch Partner in good standing will be approved immediately. This makes it easy for partners to quickly add or change out emotes for their viewers.
How to Change Twitch Emote Prefix
You must be a partner to select a custom Twitch emote prefix. As an Affiliate, you can only change them when you change your Twitch username.
If you’re eligible to change the prefix name, you can access the options on your dashboard under the Affiliate settings.
Emote Design Strategies for Twitch
As Emotes are one of the automated selling points of your brand, try to come up with something creative that will excite your viewers. Keep it to your brand, but make it something that can be used in context on other channels. Above all, make it visually appealing.
Play around with several ideas before you start. As you grow, your viewers will be able to direct you with ideas of their own, and this process will become much more manageable. Here are a few things you should consider when creating your Twitch emote designs:
Design Emotes to Look Great at a Small Size
Remember that emotes are tiny and may not be able to pick up on all the detail you wish to put on it. Keep the overall design simple. Twitch’s competitor, Mixer recommends that their broadcasters use an 8-bit design method. This can also be reminiscent of old-school gaming.
Colors You Should User For Stream Emotes
If you stream on a server that allows their users to toggle between light and dark backgrounds, think of a design that will work well in both settings. Twitch recommends that you create a thin line of off-white around the emote. They suggest 1px of the color code #F1F1F1. This makes the outline noticeable when on dark mode and the color isn’t distracting on light mode.
Choose colors that will stand out. Make sure they are related to your band and can be identified to you, but vibrant shades will be clearer at such a small size.
Maximize the Space for Your Stream Emotes
When designing your emote, make sure to “fill in” as much of the provided space as possible. When you (or a designer) create in that square, go as close to the edge as you can. This way, the image will be “larger” when you resize it to the appropriate size.
Sync your broadcast account with BetterTTV to preview your emote before you submit it. You can view it in the right size and make any tweaks you need before it goes live.
Design Unique Emotes for Your Stream
Don’t make “your version” of every other emote unless you come up with a fantastic idea. While you should stay on brand, try to keep the emote something that can be used on other channels.
As you grow and unlock more emotes, create a couple of designs that require more than one remote for the full effect (such as Twitch’s squid emote). If you can create one that is customizable, even better. I’ve seen a few streamers that have created the emotes with the following two letters: LI, VE, LO, FE. Depending on how these are placed, they can spell Live, Love, Life, and for those using nicotine pouches: Velo. Find your own version of this that resonates with your viewers.
Create Meme Designs for Your Stream Emotes
While you shouldn’t copy every theme out there, consider creating a couple of meme designs or find a way to add your brand to another emote. For example, Twitch allows each channel to incorporate their popular Kappa emote into up to two channel emotes. This means if you sport a pink pixie haircut and wear a beanie on stream, so should Kappa. If you can find a fun way to place your brand on something already established (without stealing anyone else’s work), do it.
The global versions of Kappa on Twitch.
Celebrate Your Stream Community’s Traditions with Emotes
If you have a catch-phrase or your community develops an “inside joke” over time, create an emote around it. This is a great way to give your viewers something they will want to spam at times and an excellent promotional tool. When new users visit your channel and see your viewers having fun, they will want to understand the emote. In time, they will want to use it to join in with the others, and you’ll gain another subscriber.
Emotes Based on Your Personality or Content
If your content centers around one or two activities, try to design a remote around that. You can also create one about hobbies or fandoms that you talk about with your viewers. These emotes will be of a niche design that can relate to your channel and will stand out if your followers use it on other channels with related content.
Have Emotes Control Something on Your Stream
As your community grows, create an emote or two, which can change something on your screen. Have an overlay or widget connected with your chat that will activate when your users spam that emote. An example of this could be your camera overlay color. If you assign two colors to it (brand colors, if possible), set it up so that it can change if enough viewers use the emote.
Kitboga’s emotes include his version of LUL an other recognizable emotes. He has emotes directly related to inside jokes in his community (tea cult), and his meme emote activates the memometer on his screen.
A system directly related to your content is a stronger idea. Kitboga has a “meme” emote that activates his “memometer” when he calls spammers. As his viewers spam the emote, the meter fills up, allowing them to interact directly with his stream. It creates a lot of energy and people want to subscribe to be a part of it.
Keep Twitch Emotes Simple
Remember that simplicity is key. When creating emotes, try to maximize the look by using thicker lines, detail that will only appear in all emote sizes, and high color values.
What You Shouldn’t Put on Your Emotes
Make sure to follow the guidelines of your streaming platform. Don’t create emotes that are sexual or violent in nature, are related to drugs, or can be used to harass someone in a hateful way. Keep things clean and enjoyable for everyone.
Use Your Emotes to Promote Your Twitch Channel
Once you have created your emotes, you can use them to promote your channel.
Create a panel with your available emotes in your profile. Not everyone will click the subscribe button to check out your emotes. Having them in your profile will give them a visual of what they can use if they support your channel.
Let your viewers vote for new designs on Discord. This is the perfect way to know that you are appealing to your audience. You can narrow this down further by only allowing subscribers to vote. Post the options in your subscriber-only channel and take their feedback. Read How to Create Your Stream Channel’s Discord Server for more information.
Once your emotes have been approved, share them on your social media account. Don’t be too overly-promotional. Show your excitement instead.
Having unique emotes on your channel is a great way to build your community. If you notice that one of your emotes is rarely used or isn’t popular, you can always replace it. Continually listen to your viewers and give them what they need to stay involved.