Kimberly Linn, a creative director in LA, was so frustrated by Apple’s lack of lesbian-themed emojis last year that she started making them herself.
“The idea started as a joke between me and my friends,” said Linn, whose designs eventually became the iOS app “Lesbian Emojis.”
Lesbian Emojis began as an Instagram account of Linn’s designs, which touch on popular lesbian jokes and stereotypes. The U-Haul truck, for instance, is a slang reference for a relationship that progresses very quickly to live-together status.
“I never really thought it was going to turn into anything,” she said. “It had a small little following.”
Linn’s drawings resonated online. Her Instagram account now has over 10,000 followers.
Executives as Pitch, the ad agency Linn works for, approached her about making an app when they saw how popular her emojis had become.
“My boss came up to me and she was like ‘I talked to the president and we’re so proud of you. We want to help you turn this into an app if that’s what your goal is,'” said Linn.
Pitch connected Linn with developers at 99centbrains, and Lesbian Emojis was born. The app launched two weeks ago.
Lesbian Emojis isn’t on the iMessage keyboard — Linn said that was an “insurmountable problem” — but the app lets users copy and paste her emojis into iMessage or open up a new iMessage in the app.
Each emoji takes anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to make. Some of the nearly 70 she’s made so far include a fish taco, a U-Haul truck, and a pack of Parliament cigarettes.
Linn is aware that lesbians aren’t the only ones that Apple’s emojis leave out. She wants to expand her project as time allows.
“I want to do one for gay men,” she said. “I’d eventually love to turn Lesbian Emojis into LGBT emojis.”