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The Evolution of the Emoji

The Evolution of the Emoji

Emojis have become an integral part of modern day communication. Whether you’re sending a quick text, an elaborate online message or a simple email, Emojis can completely transform the delivery of your message.

In the late 80s and 90s, the emoticon was the best form of written expression. Emoticons used your standard keyboard to create pictorial icons using letters, numbers and punctuation marks :-) Simple yet effective, emoticons laid the groundwork for the modern-day Emoji – becoming a shortcut for the colourful icons we see today ;-)


Emojis were invented in the 1990s by Japanese founder Shigetaka Kurita and were designed primarily for Japanese users. Emojis (from Japanese ‘e’ for picture and ‘moji’ for character) were largely based on manga art and quickly became popular with global mobile users. Today, hundreds of Emojis are available to display just about everything - from emotions, animals and foods to weather and international flags – enhancing static messages to a colourful display of text and imagery.


The importance of Emojis is often overlooked. Unless you’re a grammar wizard, it’s sometimes difficult to present messages with the correct meaning without using an Emoji. For example, a joke may be misinterpreted as something serious without the use of an Emoji to reflect the humour. In the good old days where just a handful of Emojis were available, messages were also often misconstrued – adding a ‘sticking tongue out’ Emoji to the wrong sentence could mean the difference between a serious statement and one fuelled with sarcasm. The demand for more expressions lead to the development of the hundreds of Emojis we see today and the newest form of Emoji released by Apple – the Animoji.


The Animoji takes the Emoji to a whole other level. Using the TrueDepth camera on the spunky new iPhone X, users are able to reflect their facial expressions through a selection of Animoji characters. The futuristic Face ID technology in the iPhone X uses the front camera to create a ‘map’ of the user’s face - capturing and analysing more than 50 different facial muscle movements. This ‘map’ can then be used to mirror your expressions using an Animoji character (currently a robot, alien, dog, cat, monkey, pig, fox, poop, panda, chicken, mouse, and unicorn). No longer do you have to choose your Emoji, you can become one yourself!


Where would we be without the humble Emojis? They provide context. They display emotions that can’t otherwise be expressed through text alone. A smiley face can buffer a harsh email, a crying face can display your sadness and others can simply brighten up someone’s day. Emojis have stuck with us since the 90s and will forever have a place in our mobile hearts.

Source: Apple.com