Fast Company
Snapchat App Social Media Bitmoji Image Credit: Fast Company
Snapchat App Social Media Bitmoji Image Credit: Fast Company

Snap's New Game Face

The social media giant’s acquisition of digital avatar maker Bitmoji may be one of its smartest moves yet.

Aaron gell

On an overcast morning in June, a dozen or so young illustrators and animators gather in the lunchroom at the Bitstrips offices, located in an unassuming industrial building in Toronto’s swiftly gentrifying Queen Street West neighborhood. The occasion is the creative department’s twice-weekly brainstorming session, known internally as a Bitmojam, during which a new crop of Bitmoji, the company’s illustrated digital mash notes, will begin to take shape. On a whiteboard, someone has written out the day’s challenge: “Shade.” Below that are listed six mildly derisive comebacks one might find useful in a text conversation, including “Are you f——ing kidding me?,” “Slow clap,” and “You had one job. . . .”

Bitmoji are perhaps best described as the mobile web’s version of Hallmark cards, but better. Cartoon greetings that feature customizable avatars and can be inserted into any number of chat apps, Bitmoji offer a considerably wider (and hipper) range of expressions than you’ll ever find in a drugstore aisle. “Having a digital extension of yourself is a necessity,” creative director and CEO Jacob Blackstock says, “and we’re working to give people the best possible version.” But even in visually infectious cartoon form, negative expressions present a challenge for Bitmoji’s creative team, who might be thought of as millennial Cyranos&mda


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