Custom emoji best practices

Creators enabled for sponsorships are now able to upload their own custom emoji to be used on their channel.

Emoji specifications

File format: GIF, JPEG, and PNG files are preferred.
File size: Less than 1MB.
Image dimensions: 48x48 (preferred) to 480x480.

On mobile devices, emoji show at 24x24 points. The image is scaled to match the pixel density of the device.

On most monitors, emoji show at 24x24 points. On Retina and HiDPI devices, the images show at 48x48 points or higher. Make sure your emoji look good at both sizes.


What are the emoji image details?

  • Emoji will display at 24x24 points and 48x48 points on HiDPI devices. Make sure your emoji look good at both sizes.
  • Text can be especially hard to read in 24x24 images.
  • Consider how your emoji will look in a range of background colors (white and black for regular chat messages, and rainbow for Super Chat messages). We recommend outlining your emoji so they stand out against any background color.
How do I design emoji?

Some creators hire a designer and some make emoji themselves - it's up to you. There are many contract design websites with experts in emoji design:

The cost of an emoji design can range from $1 to $25 per emoji, depending on the skill level and seniority of your graphic artist. $5/emoji is the average.

If you’d like to make emoji yourself, you’ll need graphic design software, such as Adobe Photoshop.

What can I design?

  • Your emoji must comply with YouTube's Terms of Service and Community Guidelines
  • Please be sure not to violate others' copyright or privacy rights. Learn more.
  • Avoid single letter designs in your emoji to prevent abuse. Your audience can combine them in potentially inappropriate ways.

What should I design?

Consider your audience: What inside jokes do you have with your viewers? What do you commonly say in your videos? What reactions do you expect people to have to your content?

  • Ask your viewers: What kind of emoji do they want to use?
  • Human emotions: happy, sad, excited/shocked, LOL.
  • Look at existing emoji or sticker sets on your phone or other platforms.
  • Think about the types of behaviors you want to encourage on your channel.
  • Try to have your emoji designed by the same artist.This will help ensure that the set looks professional.
  • Emoji should be easy to understand at a glance. Simple images can often be better than more complex ones - you only have 24x24 points to work with.
  • Transparent backgrounds are ideal.
  • If your emoji is based on a photo, ensure that the image has good lighting. 
  • Make sure that lines are sharp.
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