Mélanie Johnsson


Stories from behind the scenes...

Resources: How to get your Stickers on Giphy


This post was originally meant to be a step-by-step of how to make your own Stickers. But after having filmed that said step-by-step, my computer decided that it wouldn’t allow me to edit the video. So that plan failed. I thought I would still share some tips about the Stickers…

All this will probably be more helpful to those that already have an idea of how to animate in Photoshop. But there are a LOT of resources online for everybody else! I’ve linked them for you in Tip #4.


Tip 1: How to apply for an Artist channel on Giphy

This first step is essential. Don’t create a normal account on Giphy: you really need an Artist’s channel if you want your Gifs and Stickers to be available accross all social media platforms! You’ll need all the usual suspects: an email address, username, display name, website link and social media profiles…Plus, Giphy will also need you to upload an avatar to your new page. But before they can approve your new channel, you’ll need to upload at least 5 Gifs or Stickers to your page…

Wait, are Gifs and Stickers different? Yes they are!

Here’s the definition Giphy gives us:

A sticker is an (animated) GIF with transparent pixels. To be considered a sticker, at least 20% of the first frame must be transparent, and the source file must be a GIF. Transparent videos won't work here. We sort stickers separately from GIFs, and they have their own API as well. This API powers the sticker experience for tons of different apps, with various uses from messaging to photo editing.

So you’re basically going to be making Stickers, as these little animations will be on a transparent background and easy to use on all socia media apps.

Anyway, back to getting your Artist channel. So you need at least 5 Stickers (up to 10!) to get your artist’s channel approved, and even once you’ve published them (publicly) on the platform, the approval process will be a bit long. Keep in mind that it won’t keep you from creating and publishing Gifs and Stickers on your channel, it just means that they won’t appear on social media platforms just yet…

Oh also, even though it seems obvious, these Stickers you’re about to create, they need to be completely yours, meaning that they will be original animated work (and non-commercial!).

My tip: Don’t worry if you don’t hear back from Giphy straight away. The approval process can take up to a month! So chill and keep creating in the meantime…


Tip 2: Coming up with ideas for your Stickers

Now, that’s the fun part! If, like me, you always do everything by hand first, you can now start painting, drawing, coming up with fun designs that you know will look great animated! Don’t restrict yourself, go crazy! Once you’re done, you can scan or photograph your artworks and start editing them in Photoshop the way you’d usually do it.

The animations you have in mind for your illustrations don’t have to be too complicated, they could be a little twinkle to start with, or a change of colours. Once you’ve nailed these, you can start thinking of more complicated animations (but careful, they will probably slow your computer down!).

My tip: Think about the kind of Stickers YOU (and/or your friends) would want to use…Keep it simple and fun!


Tip 3: How to set up your Sticker file

Now is time to set up a new document in Photoshop. I haven’t found anything online to actually tell you what’s the best practice for your Stickers to be super high quality. Even Giphy’s tips and tricks don’t really help us on this subject… As we obviously want our Stickers to look great once they’re available on the social media platforms.

Let’s just create a new document following these settings:


My tip: I personally like to create quite big files (I often go for 2000 px) as my Stickers often start as normal illustrations that I know I’ll get to use on other platforms that just social media. Whatever you do on Photoshop, always start quite big, as you’re working with pixels.


Tip 4: How to organise and animate your artwork

This is the bit where I recorded myself to show you exactly how to go from your original artwork to its animated version. Unfortunately my old Macbook (that I’m traveling with) doesn’t like me editing videos…So that failed. I did try to contact some talented video editors, but haven’t heard back from them, and I didn’t want to make you wait forever for some tips and tricks about those Stickers.

Until I can share with you the video I’ve recorded, I encourage you to watch the following tutorials to know exactly (step by step) how to make Stickers:

To remember:

  • You’ll learn that you need to have each element to animate on a different layer. My tip is to always name and organise these layers (you can even group them if your animation is a bit tricky). This will come in handy when animating your artwork.

  • Don’t use too many colours. Using too many colours will make your Sticker heavy when saving it.

  • From the beginning, you want to make sure that your animated artwork goes to the very edge of the document. You want it to be the biggest possible inside the canvas. See below…

Yes no.png

Tip 6: How to export your Sticker

Once you’re all set and happy with your animation, you’ll need to export it properly to be able to use it online. So let’s go to File > Export > Save for web…and the window below will appear.

The important bits:

  • Save it as a GIF.

  • Keep the Transparency checked.

  • Under Matte: Go for None (that means you won’t have that annoying white stroke around your animation).

  • Don’t forget to loop your animation Forever.

Save for web.png

Tip 7: How to get it right on Giphy

The most important thing to think about when you upload your Stickers on Giphy is your hashtag game. Hashtags are very important, they will help people find your Stickers on the platform. So you need them to be super relevant to your artwork and the people you wish to reach.

So, if you’ve designed something like an aubergine that says vegan on it, you can use the following hastags to make sure people will find it : aubergine, veggie, vegetables, vegan, cook, cooking, healthy, foodie, food, purple… Don’t restrain yourself on these, the more, the better!

My tip: Create a specific hastag that people will type in order to find all your Stickers. Mine is my just my full name “melaniejohnsson”. So your name, brand’s name or whatever else you like and will stick with will do!


Final tip: Once your channel has been approved, your Stickers will always take a bit of time to actually appear on Instagram Stories and other social platforms. I’ve been told that adding a rating to your stickers will speed up the approval process of each of them!


And there you go! Hope these have been slightly helpful. I’m sorry I couldn’t share the full tutorial yet, I only wish I had my Imac with me! (But it would have been a bit tricky to take it to South Africa…).

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!

Mel x