JibJab Bros Studios

Creative Lead, Project Manager | Consultant | 2016-17

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The brothers of JibJab Bros Studios have been mentors and friends for almost the last decade. Gregg, the CEO of JibJab and StoryBots, offered an irresistible proposal.

“How about you come up with a digital product idea, build a creative and tech team, design and build the product, and get it ready for launch? We’ll fund and support it.”

How could I not?! So I moved to LA.

My sketchbook became a flurry of ideas, and on day one of starting in the studio, I pitched an idea that everyone rallied behind, which was novel for its time; talking emojis. This would allow a user to not just enhance their communication with an emoji, but allow someone to record and deliver their message as an emoji. The experience is entirely toy-like, changes the pitch of the voice in real-time, offers a host of standard emojis, and a growing catalog of in-house generated characters.

The team built was scrappy and nimble, but across all departments, from testing and compliance, to legal, to marketing and more, touched the hands of 24 people.

We created 2 mobile apps on top of the animation engine that my company, Freak’n Genius built.

Apple has since taken the concept and integrated their own talking emojis natively into iOS.

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Key roles:

Managing project across 24 person team; design, engineering, QA, marketing

Managing design & engineering sprints

Creative direction

Product UI/UX

Managing voice talent and recording studio sessions


Kyle Kesterson is one of the most creative, hardest working, inspired professionals that I have had the pleasure of working with over the years.

His ability to add insight and value across functions, including content, product, marketing, and strategy make him a rare and valuable talent.

Plus, he is a helluva nice human being!
— Gregg Spiridelis, CEO of JibJab & StoryBots

Kyle Kesterson