Emojis are, on surface level, quite silly, but they’ve clearly permeated our culture to quite an impressive scale. Over the past couple of decades that they’ve been in our lives, emojis have made an undeniable impact on how we communicate. Despite the growing number of amazing emojis out there, there are plenty of reasons to get your own custom emojis designed. To help you find the right designer for the job, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 top emoji designers for hire right now.

Why you need custom emoji design

What is it about emojis that we love? They are a common language for all. Emojis are playful, versatile and make things a little more fun. And it’s just so satisfying to find the perfect emoji for the perfect moment. Using and receiving emojis can be like reading a book full of drawings and photos, a break from letters and texts.

best eomjiy designers jumping for joy
Want your brand to win the award for the best emoji design? Work with a pro emoji designer! Illustration by OrangeCrush

The reason we have all learned the language of emojis to a certain degree is because emojis are standardized. This standardization makes it possible to not only preserve the universality of emojis but also to customize it, within set parameters. Major brands have been making their emojis unique to them through customization for several years.

Although it is more expected for digital companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Venmo to integrate emojis to their platforms, even major retail brands like Ikea and Dove have embraced the beloved symbols as part of their advertising strategies. This not only creates a deeper connection with their audience, it also takes customer engagement to the next level.

Dove emojis via Shorty Awards
Ikea emojis via Techcrunch

Customization is the name of the game for emoji designers. That’s why it’s important to work with a designer who knows how to work within the standards and express the nuances that will be unique to your brand.

To show you what’s truly possible with emoji design, we’ve compiled a list of top freelance emoji designers you can hire.

The 10 best freelance emoji designers to hire in 2021

  1. 1
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo design
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Other design
    • Character or mascot
    • T-shirt
    • Poster
    • Other art or illustration
    • Card or invitation
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Book cover
    • Sticker
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Merchandise
    • Logo & business card
    • Tattoo
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Print or packaging design
    • Icon or button
    • Button or icon
    • Business card
    • 3D
  2. 2
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo & brand guide
    • Other design
    • Product packaging
    • Web page design
    • Logo & business card
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Icon or button
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Product label
    • Other web or app design
    • Other art or illustration
  3. 3
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Banner ad
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Card or invitation
    • Poster
    • Other design
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other art or illustration
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Tattoo
    • Merchandise
    • Other web or app design
    • Flash banner
    • Business card
    • Social media page
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Product packaging
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other business or advertising
    • Other book or magazine
    • Facebook cover
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • WordPress theme design
    • Web page design
    • Signage
    • App design
    • Menu
    • Logo & business card
    • Landing page design
    • Icon or button
    • Email
    • Cup or mug
    • Book cover
    • 3D
  4. 4
    • Tattoo
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • T-shirt
    • Character or mascot
    • Product label
    • Icon or button
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other design
    • Logo & business card
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Signage
    • Product packaging
    • Other packaging or label
    • Merchandise
  5. 5
    • Logo design
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo & brand guide
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo & business card
    • Product packaging
    • Other business or advertising
    • Icon or button
    • T-shirt
    • Other art or illustration
    • App design
    • Brochure
    • WordPress theme design
    • Web page design
    • Stationery
    • PowerPoint template
    • Poster
    • Other web or app design
    • Other design
    • Facebook cover
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Car, truck or van wrap
  6. 6
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo design
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Logo & business card
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Sticker
    • Other art or illustration
    • T-shirt
    • Other design
    • Business card
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other web or app design
    • Other packaging or label
    • Stationery
    • Poster
    • Other book or magazine
    • Merchandise
    • Logo & brand guide
    • Icon or button
    • Brand guide
    • Banner ad
  7. 7
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • T-shirt
  8. 8
    • Logo design
    • Book cover
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo & brand guide
    • Social media page
    • Other design
    • Product label
    • Product packaging
    • Poster
    • Other book or magazine
    • Merchandise
    • Logo & business card
    • Cup or mug
    • Card or invitation
    • Car, truck or van wrap
    • Banner ad
  9. 9
    • Logo design
    • Icon or button
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Product label
    • T-shirt
    • Other design
    • Character or mascot
    • Facebook cover
    • Other business or advertising
    • Sticker
    • Poster
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Product packaging
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Other web or app design
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other packaging or label
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Infographic
    • Web page design
    • Logo & business card
    • Landing page design
    • Email
    • Cup or mug
    • Business card
    • Book cover
    • Banner ad
    • 3D
  10. 10
    • Logo design
    • Merchandise
    • Stationery
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Business card
    • Book cover

How did we choose these as the top emoji designers?

When it comes to emoji design, it’s all about the details! Emojis are constantly changing and improving, new ones are popping up all the time. In such a thriving, fast-changing design field it’s very important to have someone who not only speaks emoji but also knows how to create ones that are unique in their own way. Here’s what we focused on while selecting the designers on this list:

1. Design quality

When a designer applies to join 99designs, an expert from our team evaluates their portfolio for conceptual thought, technical execution and knowledge of design principles. If the designer is accepted, they are assigned one of three levels:

  • Top Level
  • Mid Level
  • Entry Level

These levels are displayed on the designers’ portfolios, so that anyone who is considering working with them can decide if their project calls for someone who is more experienced or for someone who is building up a name for themselves.

2. Emoji design experience

Emoji design requires a very specific set of skills: illustration, customization and adaptation. When looking at the above portfolios you see how the designers have managed to customize emojis to make them one of a kind: no smiley face is ever the same.

In addition to looking at overall quality, we specifically vetted each designer on this list to make sure they had experience with and specialized in emoji design.

3. Professionalism

Of course you want someone with design skills, but you also want an emoji designer who communicates with you throughout the process, delivers on time and is generally good to work with. So we took past customer experiences into account to make sure all of our recommended emoji designers are professionals in service as well as design.

What to think about when hiring an emoji designer

Skill

As the name teases, emojis are meant to be emotive. Not only that, but they also have to comply with Unicode standards and be distinguishable enough to make it truly yours. If it is a brand new emoji then it has to be valid and relevant enough to be accepted by Unicode.

All of this requires a lot of skill and varied ones at that. The designer has to be talented at UX, illustration and be culturally savvy. If the emoji will involve text or a letter, the designer also has to be good at typography. Plus, it needs to be distinguishable at a tiny scale on a small screen. A lot of thought goes into creating something that does all the above.

Aesthetic

Does the designer’s work go with the visual and narrative tones of your brand’s identity and voice? If the designer’s style is more about bold, flashy, fiery and you want something that is more earthy, soothing or softer, you might come across a clash. You can only have an idea of this once you review the designer’s portfolio and pick up on themes and threads.

Communication

To work together, you have to understand each other. Emojis are a great test. Do you understand what the designer is conveying through their emojis. Please note that liking and understanding are two different things! If the designer has made a worm emoji but all you’re seeing is a snake, it might just be that you’re not seeing eye to eye and that’s alright. There are better matches out there.

Are you ready to hire a versatile freelance emoji designer?

No matter where you’re planning on using your custom emojis, it’s very important that they set the right tone and communicate with the outside world in a way that’s true to who your brand is. Hiring a top emoji designer will give you the chance to really create what you’re looking for and build your emotive icon in a way that makes you go emoji with the heart eyes.

Want more emoji designer choices?
Find the best freelance designer for your project!