iMessage Tapback Expansion

Interested in designing within a brand's identity and creating a custom icon set, I expanded Apple's fleet of iMessage tapback reactions.

Inspiration Strikes

When my friend agreed to pick me up from the airport, I realized iMessage's "love" reaction didn't quite carry the meaning I wanted to convey. Looking to combine love, gratitude, and protection, I said I wished I could "angel" react instead. As such, the plane ride saw me doodling early plans for an expanded and changeable iMessage reaction icon set.


In order to design a minimum viable product, I adapted existing Apple screens, designed 30 sample icons, and created a workflow where a user can swap out their six core reaction icons.

Working off the existing macOS and iOS mental map, a user can hold down an icon—making it shake—to open the menu that shows replacement icons. I added a search bar, because I envision a future, shippable iteration that includes more icons than the sample set I designed.

In the end, I designed 30 tapbacks in addition to the original six. Tapbacks are distinct from emojis, conveying reactions rather than emotions. As such, I stayed away from people and expressions. However, I attempted to make them abstract and wide ranging, allowing each user to put a unique spin on their communication style.

Find me on ︎︎, ︎, or ︎.