Why Are Your Twitch Emotes So Small? [3 Reasons]

Emotes are small emoji-like icons that Twitch users can use while carrying out conversations in the Twitch chat rooms. Creating Twitch emotes can be challenging enough that many users pay designers to make them for their accounts, and users can shell out hundreds of dollars for a single image. Once it’s been designed, an emote must be uploaded and approved by Twitch before it can be used. Some users are running into issues after approval, namely, size.

There are three primary reasons your Twitch emotes are looking so small:

  1. Consider Twitch’s Size Guidelines
  2. Too Much Negative Space
  3. Image Itself Is Too Small

Let’s look at each one of these factors and any possible remedies for the causes of these issues.

3 Reasons Your Twitch Emote Is So Small

So you’ve been on Twitch chat for a minute, and you’re noticing other users putting these creative icons into the thread as a response. A good number of them are funny; others express negative emotions like disgust or positive emotions like joy.

What stands out the most is that they are all different like they’re custom-made. What sets emotes apart is that they are user-designed and uploaded. Some users may have doled out cash for their unique emotes, but they own them, nonetheless.

You’ve paid for them or created them yourself, and now you want to use them. You’ve followed Twitch’s guidelines to a tee, and you get your approval—but there is an issue— they are too small to be legible. Now what?

1. Consider Twitch’s Size Guidelines

The easiest mistake that users run into when it comes to Twitch emotes is not considering Twitch’s size guidelines. Twitch has three sizes for emotes: 28x28px for web, 56x56px for retina display, and 112x112px for larger screens. Some users don’t understand that the smallest size is displayed in chat on the desktop, so you need your image to work with this size.

You have to find an image that will look clear in all three sizes on Twitch. Finding an image that works for you could be a simple adjustment, clearing out some of the negative space around the photo to make it bigger, or finding a whole new image. Text especially will be difficult to read at that size unless the entire icon is text. When working with 28x28px sizing, the simpler the picture, the better.

2. Too Much Negative Space

The negative space issue was briefly mentioned in the previous reason, but we will get into it a bit more in-depth. Every image has an invisible frame it is set in, even with a transparent background.

The size of your image within that frame will determine the amount of negative space around the focal point, your icon. The negative space might be fine when the entire image is uploaded and shown at 56x56px or 112x112px, but it may appear too small at 28x28px.

To fix this, all you have to do is go in and crop your image closer to the icon and eliminate some of that negative space. If your icon is unusually shaped and you cannot get a close crop, consider using a different design or modifying your design to allow for a tighter crop.

If you had your Twitch emote designed, understand it’s your job to set the expectations. Not all designers are familiar with Twitch emotes, so let them know the sizing guidelines, so they can let you know, realistically, what will work on that scale.

3. Image Itself Is Too Small

You might have an awesome idea for a Twitch emote, but not every idea is going to translate well. Depending on the shape and size of the image itself, it may not take up enough room within the frame to be legible at certain sizes.

For example, a scythe is an emote that one user was having difficulty seeing clearly in the chat. With the length of both the handle and the blade, one vertical and one horizontal, there was no allowance for the image to be cropped close enough. Couple that with the thinness of the handle and blade, and you’re left with a barely legible icon.

Take these variables into consideration when selecting a Twitch emote design. You may want a certain picture, but you have to consider that it may not be practical with web sizing. If that is the case, you can either live with the 28x28px looking somewhat unclear or choose a different image. If you sprinkle a little creativity on the image, you may even be able to rework it to suit your needs.

Guidelines for Twitch Emotes

Before you go through all the trouble of hiring a designer or creating a Twitch emote yourself using a site like Placeit.net, make sure that you look at all the guidelines so you’re not wasting your time and possibly your money. Following the guidelines ensures that your emote gets approved by Twitch.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your Twitch emote:

  • Follow Twitch Policies (i.e., no hateful conduct, harassment, sexual content, nudity, vulgarity, politics, flashing or flickering effects, etc.)
  • Do Not Steal Content (i.e., content you do not own, another person’s likeness, person or organization name, logo, etc.)
  • Format for Emotes (static emotes: PNG and animated emotes: GIF)
  • File Size (no bigger than 1MB)
  • Background (must be a transparent background)

There are a few more guidelines for animated emotes that you can find in the “Help” section of Twitch. There is also a full list of Twitch policies and community guidelines and an exhaustive list of copyrighted content that cannot be used.


Whether you’re investing in your Twitch emote by hiring a designer or taking a stab at designing it yourself, be educated on the guidelines to ensure that your emote is not only approved but legible. Choose an image that is fun but practical for the sizing you have to work with on Twitch. Collaborate with your designer, so they know how to create an icon that will work for you.