Using stickers in place of emojis to communicate is hardly new (relatively speaking), and has been around on Telegram for some time. Recently though, the FOSS messenger Signal, known for its strong cryptography and privacy guarantees, adopted stickers into their ecosystem as well. This spurred our imaginations. We're designers right? It seemed fitting to make a pack of our own. The only question was the subject.
As often happens at Cypher Stack, we decided to lend our talents to the open source community, and Monero, a project we contribute to regularly, proved to have the inspiration we needed to get started.
Telegram allows for easy sticker pack creation. You can add, delete, edit, or change stickers as you please through any of their clients. Signal however, was a different story. Due to their incredible privacy-conscious engineering, the Signal Technology Foundation implemented stickers in such a way that the Foundation (which hosts the infrastructure) is unable to see who downloads what sticker packs and when each sticker is used via strong encryption. This incredible privacy also comes with drawbacks, however.
In Telegram, stickers are tied to their author's account, and only the person who uploaded them can make the changes. Signal doesn't keep track of which account authored the stickers, choosing instead to put only a little meta tag for the author to identify themselves if they wish. What this means, in practice, is that once a sticker pack is uploaded, it cannot be edited, changed, or deleted by the author. It has to be complete. For this reason, we had to decide what stickers would be in the pack from the get go, and, once deployed, there were no take backs. We ended up deciding on a total of 17 stickers that would cover all of the basic emotions.
Another fun challenge was turning a concept like Monero, a cryptocurrency, into a person. The iconic Monopoly man shows that this isn't an impossible task, and so we got to work, sketching out a few ideas.
As you can see above, we kicked around a few different designs before we settled on what would become Isabella. Monerujo's pixelated mascot Gunther is always fun, and we still think he would make a great sticker pack, but we ultimately wanted to do something original. A fox lends itself well to the colors of Monero, and we still might utilize this idea at some point (Cypher Market t-shirt anyone?), but after some deliberation, we felt the Monero girl was the strongest idea, and proceeded to poke around with some different styles, clothes, and hair dos.