Ben the Illustrator Creates the ‘Elton Emoji’

Ben the Illustrator has created an emoji for pop icon Elton John. Commissioned by freelancer Katie Roden, who was working on the campaign to promote Elton’s autobiography, Me: Elton John. The campaign had been months in the planning and included rainbow buses in London, video ads at Elton’s football ground (Watford FC) and interviews with Elton himself. 

Katie had seen some of Ben’s rock and pop icon art prints, and knowing that his David Bowie one has been popular and his Madonna artwork was recently featured in Taschen’s book ‘The Illustrator’, she saw an opportunity for him to create an emoji of Elton which is linked to four specific hashtags (called a hashflag).

Pan Macmillan who published the book proposed the idea to Twitter, who were keen to support it and allow the emoji. Originally the plan was for the emoji to feature Elton in the same outfit he is wearing in the book cover photo, but once illustrated it didn’t instantly look ‘Elton’ enough, so Ben experimented with different Elton looks over the years (which he had a lot of fun with). Ben says, “It wasn’t long before we were all keen on the one we used in the finals – there were a few tweaks (with/without collar and facial details), but it was a fairly easy and very enjoyable process. The craziest moment was receiving a message letting me know that my design was “with David Furnish” and that hopefully we’d be getting the all-important sign-off from him.” Thankfully David Furnish approved and the emoji launched on publishing day (15th October). Use #EltonJohn to use the emoji on Twitter for a limited time.

See more of Ben’s illustrations in his portfolio


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