Gunga biting into a red steak fillet. A Paresky Commons plate filled to the brim with stir-fry. The Andover Blue Card. These are three of 150 unique iMessage stickers in “Gunga Stickers,” a new app created by Samantha Bloom ’18.
Released on Wednesday, iOS users can now download “Gunga Stickers” from the Apple App Store and send messages with emojis, including Gunga emoticon, clubs, sports, buildings, popular Paresky Commons dishes, and more.
“Last winter, I had the idea of creating an Andover emoji app… I’m really into graphic design, and I know that the Andover family is extensive. I wanted to try and find a new way to connect everyone. Yes, there are people on campus, but there are also a lot of people in college or alumni that are much older who are not on campus, but want to stay connected to what’s happening now,” said Bloom.
The app is currently only available for iOS, but an Android version is currently in the works. Alex Reichenbach ’18, one of Bloom’s friends, is helping her code the Android app.
“I know it’s an amazing app that’s going to be dropped like Beyonce’s album… She went through many weeks and months of working both on the artistic brilliance of the images and with the incredible bureaucracy which is Apple… It allows students to express themselves in a way specific to Andover that other apps and emojis cannot,” wrote Reichenbach in an email to The Phillipian.
Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications, said, “Neil Evans, [Assistant Director of Communications], and I met with Sam last week to offer some general advice on ways she might promote her sticker pack. With 150 stickers in the larger collection, she’s done a great job of capturing campus spirit and Big Blue pride.”
Sweet continued, “This is really Sam’s project. We haven’t been involved, except to assist Sam with spreading the good word.”
Juliet Gildehaus ’20 said, “I think it’s a really cool idea to create this sort of aspect that is so unique to Andover, and it adds a really cool sense of belonging to everyone who uses it at Andover.”
Tulio Marchetti ’21 said that he would mainly use Gunga Stickers to communicate with his friends on campus.
“I thought it was really cool because you can use the different emojis to relate to other people in the school. Like, if you are just texting your friend [when you’re] in the den, you can use the emojis,” said Marchetti.
Bloom began designing the stickers over the summer, starting with ones specific to downtown, such as pizza from Bertucci’s and sushi from Mootone’s Japanese Cuisine.
“I just tried to come up with a design style that I thought would be applicable to a major set. At the time, I wasn’t really sure how many I was going to make. I had a big, extensive list, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to pick… 150 [stickers] later, I never realized how into it I would get,” said Bloom.
According to Bloom, there were times when she had almost given up on the project because of the vastness of topics she had to cover.
“One part in particular where I really wanted to quit, I was already 50 designs in and I was talking to Rudd [Fawcett ’18]. He helped me realize I’m too far into this to give up now — it’d be ridiculous. At the end of the day, I love design so much that I’d just be quitting on myself… I’m lucky that I could see it in myself to keep going,” said Bloom.
Bloom started graphic design her Lower Fall. According to Bloom, she downloaded Adobe Illustrator at the encouragement of Ally Klionsky ’17 and has been designing ever since.
Bloom said, “During my Lower Fall, I was on the JV1 soccer team, and I saw Ally designing on the bus back from a game, and I thought it was super cool… I’ve always been into art, and I told myself if I held back and didn’t talk to her it’s a missed opportunity… She introduced me to what she was working on.”
Bloom continued, “From there, I downloaded the free trial of Illustrator… I was absolutely terrible and didn’t think much of it for a few months. Then, Spring Break rolled around, and I was like, ‘You know what? I think I really wanna try this.’ I bought the one year program… From there, I haven’t really stopped.”
Bloom hopes that app will be a lasting influence on campus and will continue to connect Andover’s global community.
“My favorite stickers are the Gunga ones. I think that they’re the most applicable to everyday use because so many people use the normal iOS facial expression emojis,” said Bloom.
Editor’s Note: Samantha Bloom is a Data Visualization Editor for The Phillipian; Rudd Fawcett is the President of The Phillipian.