Emoji, those cute little graphics that add colour and amusement to messages, have quickly become an established part of digital life. Gone are the days of plain text, now it’s fully expected that any conversation with friends has some kind of illustration or animation. In some cases, emoji are all that people use to communicate, with words left by the wayside in favour of the fast and fun icons.

But, what if the current collection of glyphs doesn’t quite capture what you want to say or just feel too generic? Simple, create your own. Here’s how to make emoji on iOS, Android or your PC.

Disclaimer: Before you get too excited, it isn't really possible to make your own custom emoji that will sit alongside other emoji (except in Slack, where it is possible). The methods below will essentially make 'stickers' or images that you can share in your favourite messaging app, including Whatsapp.

How to make emoji on an iPhone

Apple makes it very easy to create emoji based on your own good looks. Memoji, as they’re called, only require that you make a representation of your face using the friendly menu options. Then, when you’re happy, they are automatically turned into a variety of expressions and other fun emoji.

To create a Memoji, all you have to do is open the Messages app and tap on the Memoji Sticker option in the row of icons at the bottom of the page (it’s the one with a ladies’ face surrounded by love hearts).

From the menu that appears, tap the + icon on the top row and you’ll be given the option to create a New Memoji. Select this and choose from the wide range of face shapes, eyes, noses, hair and other features. You can go back and change any part at any time, until everything is just how you like it to be.

How to make emoji: Creating emoji on iPhone

When you’re finished, tap Done and you should now see your emoji with all the various expressions automatically created.

You can send someone a Memoji in iMessage as well as other apps including Whatsapp. Just look for your Memoji to the left when you bring up the emoji panel on your keyboard.

How to make emoji on Android

There are a variety of apps that can help you make emoji on Android. Our current favourite is Bitmoji, as it not only keeps the process simple, but also offers an excellent range of expressions and is compatible with pretty much every messaging and social media service.

To create your emoji, download the Bitmoji app from the Google Play Store. It’s also available for iPhone too, so you can share the joy with your Apple owning buddies.

Once you’ve launched the app and set up your free account, go to the Avatar section and create your emoji using the various options on offer. When you’re finished, tap the Save button in the top right corner.

How to make emoji: Creating emoji on Android

Now, when you select the Stickers button at the bottom of the page, you’ll see a wonderful selection of avatars that will show you skateboarding, clapping, laughing, extolling the virtues of wearing masks, and many other expressions you can use in messages.

Tapping one shows it in a larger form with all the apps it can be shared on displayed below. Just tap the app icon, enter the feed you want to share it with, and your emoji will be sent to impress your friends.

How to create emoji on Windows

Again, as with Android, you’ll find a variety of websites that allow you to create emoji and save them to your hard drive so they can be shared on your preferred social media and messaging services.

One that’s free and easy to get to grips with is Angel Emoji Maker. The layout is simple, with the options on the left used to select faces, expressions or to add text. In the main pane is your emoji and you can click each element you add to resize or reposition it as you see fit.

How to make emoji: Creating emoji on PC

When you’re happy with the arrangement, click the Save button in the top right corner to download the image to your PC. Once there you’re able to add it to social media and communication apps by uploading the emoji as a picture.

One app which does let you create and use custom emoji is Slack. Click on the smiley face icon in the text bar you use to write messages, then select Add Emoji and the Custom emoji tab on the next screen. Click Upload image, give it a name in the field below, then click the Save button. From that point on it will always be available for you, and your colleagues, to select and use.

How to make emoji: Adding custom emoji to Slack

We mentioned animations right at the start. So if you prefer your images to move, then take a look at our guide on how to make GIFs to impress and amuse your friends.