The story behind Facebook’s new iconic thumb stickers

Facebook didn’t have to look far for inspiration for one of its newest sticker packs. A team of designers and engineers at a hackathon took Facebook’s iconic thumbs-up like logo and turned it into sticker form, adding sparkles, flowers and champagne. Within a couple days of launch, more than 6 million people had already used the new sticker pack.

Not bad for a 24-hour turnaround.

Facebook regularly hosts hackathons, where company employees put their minds and talents together to quickly develop apps or features. Often these events have a 24 or 48-hour time limit. Features such as chat and a redesign of the events page have come forth from hackathons.

At a recent hackathon, a team of 9 led by product designers Connie Yang and Elizabeth Gilmore got the idea to create a sticker pack based on the famous thumb in the like button (which also got a redesign a little while ago).

Gilmore said, after coming up the idea and designing the stickers, the next major step was to work with Android and iOS engineers to figure out the technical hurdles. Roughly half the team was made up of mobile engineers, making sure the stickers would pop not only on desktop, but also when a Facebook user was sending a sticker from their phone.

Gilmore talked with Inside Facebook about the efforts made in collaborating during the hackathon to bring the stickers to life:

Releasing a pack that uses a really iconic mark has its hurdles, as far as making sure it’s on brand, making sure all the right groups are brought together to maintain integrity of the pack. We couldn’t have done it without tons of groups, like finance, marketing, engineering, analytics — all those things were really, really important to the whole process.

After the sticker pack was finished, it went into testing, where Gilbert said the stickers performed quite well. Users seem to like the first actual Facebook-branded sticker pack, as well. She said that within a few days of launching the stickers to all users, more than 6 million people around the world had used them.

Gilbert discussed how vital hackathons are in the livelihood of Facebook:

It’s really great to be part of a company that rewards coming up with ideas and seeing them get produced. It’s a great environment to create really cool ideas and collaborate with a lot of other designers and engineers to make it happen.

Readers: Have you used Facebook’s newest sticker pack?