Emojis are a huge part of online communication😮. Whole sentences can be built with just pictures – digital age hieroglyphics with “dialects” for different software (a laughing smiley face would look different on an Apple phone vs a Samsung phone, for example). They have become such an integral part of the digital communication world that Oxford made the 2015 word of the year “the face with tears of joy” emoji 😂.
Emojis originated on Japanese phones in the ’90s and later became popular in the west as well. Prior to the rise of emojis people communicating through text would use “emoticons” which used text markers as symbols – such as the various faces: 🙂 / 🙁 / >:(.
There’s a lot of thinking that goes into the designs🤔- largely because they are meant to be understood and easily seen at text-sized. Tiny pictures still need to be recognized.
The original emojis from SoftBank in Japan needed to be compatible with the new operating system for iPhones so a team of 3 designers including Angela Guzman – an award winning UX design lead, created the first emojis for the iPhone. About 480 of them. She didn’t even know what an emoji was when she was first assigned the task.
Now, anyone can submit a 10-page emoji proposal to the Unicode Consortium – the nonprofit organization responsible for standards on text and emojis.
The organization processes about 50 a year and many more are simply rejected because of the high standard they have to cross. Unicode has 13 different selection factors including whether or not the symbol closely resembles a logo and the frequency of use.
The review process takes a year going through various committees and gets sent to a finalization process where the emoji gets a code.
Then they produce a draft candidates list where vendors like Apple, Facebook, Samsung, and Google can see the list and review the designs. Later, once those are approved, the individual designers at these vendors make modifications that fit their own design guidelines – hence why emojis look different on a Samsung phone vs an iPhone.
Might sound like a crazy amount of work for a few little pictures but emojis are a universal language and treating it with care assures that messages are conveyed accurately (most of the time!) 😊.
If you want more info watch the video below by Tech Insider: