The story of how Stamp Pack began

A week ago, I didn’t have an app on the App Store. I’m a UI designer and have been working on a number of projects this past year, but so far everything is still a work in progress. Well, until now. Earlier this year, I made the decision to go full-time freelance, and I’ve been lucky to get to work with my friend Ish. One morning while discussing ongoing work, he mentioned if we got through the current task, he’d like to talk to me about “stamps”. I didn’t really have much idea what that meant, and it didn’t particularly motivate me to work faster because “oohhh stamps”, but I got through the task, regardless.

So, what were stamps? Stamps were an idea for an iMessage sticker app, Ish explained. Since Apple announced iMessage apps at WWDC 2016, we’d been thinking about if there was anything interesting we could do. Before we knew it, iOS 10 was out and I wondered if it was too late, if we had missed the train? But it was only the beginning for iMessage apps, and there was definitely still a chance to be successful and do something with them.

The stickers would be in the style of rubber stamps. Ish had started a Note with some common words from stamps such as ‘Approved’, ‘Denied’ and ‘Censored’, as well as some contemporary slang and acronyms such as ‘Bae’ and ‘TMI’. He asked me to add to the list if I thought of anything. I was open to the idea and began thinking about how I could do the design, as well as what words I would like. Once I started adding to the list, it became super addictive.

We started a Slack channel that very day, on the 19th of September, where we’d be communicating about it. Meanwhile, I read Apple’s guidelines on iMessage apps and found out the common sizes. I created a document in Sketch, and sent Ish some early prototypes of how it was looking. To my surprise he started adding them to a conversation in Messages instantly (using a build from Xcode). This fanned the fire even more once I saw them in action.

We began with a small list of words, but before we knew it — our amount of words had exploded. We actually talked about how we could cut it down and what we could remove. We’re like “would someone actually use this often?” We had things arranged by categories and similar groupings. But once the list really grew, we decided alphabetical order was better. And once it was in alphabetical order, we decided we could have more words after all.

It was so exciting working on it, and I had an amazing amount of energy to do so. I actually had really little sleep during the week, but I was okay. After putting together the stamps for exporting, there was also left to do the app icon, as well as promo artwork which I also completed really quickly. We had the first version of the app submitted to the App Store in a day. It was approved and ready for sale by the 23rd of September. The next thing was to promote it, as well as work on an update for increased accessibility. During this time, we also added 48 new words and expressions. Today, we released an update with an additional 30 stamps.

Reactions so far have been incredibly positive, and it’s so fantastic to work on something that other people enjoy and are excited about using with their friends. The stamps can be sent by themselves or with Apple bubble or screen effects like ‘slam’, ‘loud’, ‘confetti’ or ‘lasers’. They can be added to messages or stuck on photos. They can be stacked on top of each other. There’s so many ways to express yourself using them. Version 1.2 will have 184 stamps in total. I’m so excited about everything that we’ve achieved in a week. This is this just the beginning of Stamp Pack’s story, and I look forward to where it might go from here.

Download Stamp Pack on the App Store.