Custom Subscriber emoticons are part of the Subscription benefits under the Twitch Partnership program. You can find out more about requirements for Twitch Partnership eligibility here. If you are already a Partner, here is a guide on emoticon tiers and the number of current Subscribers required to unlock them:
Maximum Channel Emoticons
NOTE: You must also create your Subscription prefix before you can upload any emoticons. To learn how to make your prefix, follow this guide.
Our Twitch Community Guidelines and Terms of Service apply to Subscriber badges and emoticons. From the Community Guidelines: “These behaviors fall under a common sense philosophy and apply to all video content, audio content, chat messages, channel content, profile content, usernames, and any other conduct on our services.”
Specific content prohibited from use in emoticons or emoticon codes are listed below. Subscriber badges and Subscription prefix codes must also comply with these conditions, which prohibit the following:
As part of our emoticon policy and process, we have ceased accepting Global emoticon derivatives, except for Kappa, until further notice and are reviewing current use as well. Kappa derivatives are permitted (a maximum of two Kappa derivatives per Partner are allowed) with the exception of those including only minimal design changes such as recoloring. All guidelines above apply to Kappa derivatives.
Some Partners create their own emoticons, while others hire an artist. No matter who makes the emoticons, there are some important things to remember:
Make sure the image is in a .png format.
There are three sizes per emoticon which are required for submission: 28px x 28px, 56px x 56px, and 112px x 112px. For example:
The file size cannot exceed 25kb.
When you upload the emoticon, you will choose a unique code that will be capitalized and appended after your emoticon prefix. The maximum number of characters that this code can have is 20, and must be alphanumeric (a-z and 0-9).
Please submit emoticons with a fully transparent background. If you do not know how to make images transparent, please read this.
Ensure you are viewing the emoticon at 100% resolution to check that your art has clear lines and, if you are including words, that the letters are correct and easy to read. Make sure that lines are sharp (no unnecessary blurring or feathering).
To make it easier to see dark emoticons clearly for those that use dark backgrounds such as via Theater Mode, you could create a thin 1 pixel line of off-white (#F1F1F1 is the correct color code) around the edge of the emoticon shape. The reason for this specific suggestion is that this is the default background color of Twitch chat, so the outline will not be noticeable outside of any dark mode. This is not always necessary though, so use your own judgment and test it on a dark background to ensure quality.
HELPFUL HINT To make quality emoticons, you will need a program like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP (free; open-source); MS Paint is not recommended because it does not allow for transparent backgrounds.
This section breaks down the emoticon dashboard into its constituent parts.
Partner Settings: Navigate to this tab in order to view the Chat Emoticon dashboard
Current emoticons: This is a display of all the emoticons currently offered via your channel
Edit button: Click this to activate the edit options for emoticons. You can delete emoticons and upload emoticons by toggling this mode.
Emoticon slot count: The total number of slots currently in use, over the total number of slots available. If you have empty slots available, then you may upload more emoticons. If you have no slots available or a negative count of slots available, your active subscriber total will need to increase before you can upload more emoticons. Negative slots can happen by the total subscriber count dropping below the tier for that amount of emoticon slots. When this happens, Partners do not lose emoticons, but cannot edit their emoticons.
Current Mission: This shows the next tier to reach in your subscriber count in order to unlock more emoticon slots.
Reward progress bar: This bar shows the current progress towards the next unlock tier, and explains what the reward will be once the progress bar is filled!
Q: Will my emoticons be available for my Subscribers to use immediately?
A: Emoticons require manual approval before they appear to your audience. As soon as you submit an item, it enters the queue in the review system.
Q: How long does the review process take?
A: Review of emoticon, badge, and chat prefix submissions are generally done within 48 business hours. This process cannot be expedited (attempting to do so may, in reality, slow the process down). As well, events and holidays may extend the approval process, so please be patient while waiting for review.
Q: My emoticon was denied. Now what?
A: You should have received an email regarding the reason why your emoticon was not approved (check your spam filter). If you did not, simply write into email@example.com to inquire. Remember that all emoticons and their suffixes (the emoticon code you create during the submission process) must comply with the emoticon guidelines. You may alter the emoticon so that it does not violate any of these rules or submit a different emoticon altogether.
Q: My emoticon was approved before but is now removed. What happened?
A: Twitch reserves the right to review all emoticons and Subscriber badges and to remove content that violates the rules at any time, including as the rules are updated. If your emoticon was removed, you should have received an email regarding the reason why. If you did not, simply write into firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
Q: I think an emoticon violates Twitch’s rules. How do I report it?
A: If you find an emoticon you believe violates the rules, please report it via the User Report function. To do so, simply select the category from the report menu that applies to the violating content in the emoticon, and when in doubt, select “Other Terms of Service Violation”. Violations of third party rights should be reported by the rights holders.
Q: I am bothered by an emoticon showing up in my channel but it does not violate Twitch’s rules. How can I avoid seeing it?
A: If you do not like seeing an emoticon in your chatroom on your channel, but it does not violate any of our guidelines, you can still hide it from appearing in your channel by adding it to your Channel Banned Words filter. Words - including emoticon codes - added to this filter box will appear in your chat as ***.
Here are some general tips to maximize the experience of using emoticons on your channel:
If your emoticon is based on a photo, ensure that the image has good lighting. A perfectly good emoticon slot is wasted with a photo of your face that was taken in such poor lighting that you have blue skin and no one can make out your expression.
Link your emoticons (even vaguely) together by style, color, or have them all done by the same artist. This creates a streamlined, professional look and adds to your overall brand appeal.
Consider that a simple image can often be the most pleasing to the eye since you only have 28px to work with and too much detail or too many words can clutter the emoticon, making it look messy and hard to understand.
If you want memes, base your emoticons on memes generated by your own community. Be original! Be YOU. This will cause your emote to have staying power beyond the short lifespan of most general internet memes, because it is based on your channel and your community can feel closer to the source of the meme.
That said, monitor the popularity of your emoticons as time goes on. Are most of your emoticons getting used about the same, but perhaps a couple of them are rarely used? Consider replacing them with something new!
Try running emoticon ideas and samples by your community so you do not miss an opportunity for feedback prior to upload. Ask them what they would love to see and what they would not use much. You have your very own focus group at your fingertips, so utilize that!