On World Emoji Day, which was celebrated on July 17, Apple and Google previewed some of the new emojis that will be launched in their upcoming software updates. Both companies are bringing out about 60 emojis!
To understand why this launch is so important and what it means for all of us avid smartphone users, learning the history behind them is a must.
Who Created Them?
The first emoji was created by the Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita in 1999. Kurita’s goal was to create a simple yet innovative way to convey information. For example, instead of saying “I’m so sad”, one could use a sad face icon to convey the same message with the associated emotions.
Kurita first went to several technology companies to offer his idea. When he realized that none of them wanted to design emojis themselves, Kurita and his team handmade the first pixelated emojis on their own. They then created a code for a special emoji keyboard. Once they had created the first set of 176 basic emojis, major technology companies in Japan loved the idea and added them to their electronic devices. From there, the popularity of emoji grew in Japan and spread around the world.
Emojis are more than just a modern, millennial, messaging fad. They are part of a new and emerging language used to help add emotion and feeling to our messages.
They have become a staple in our daily lives as they show up everywhere from friendly texts to corporate emails and press releases. They even made it to the 2015 Oxford Dictionary's Word’ of the Year! As the world evolves, so should the emojis- and that's exactly what the new emoji update represents. The new update carries emojis that celebrate diversity and highlight the different people and things our world has to offer.
Apple says that there are up to 75 new people emojis with all kinds of skin tones, hairstyles, hair colors, and gender variation. Around 60 interracial couples, same-sex couples, and opposite-sex emojis will also be released. The new set of emojis also shed light on people with disabilities with wheelchair users, a guide dog, hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, and sign language users. More exotic animal food, clothing, and miscellaneous emojis will also be released such as flamingos, sloths, waffles, mangoes, lettuce, saris, swimsuits, a pickup truck, a person with a parachute, and more.
Emojis are increasingly becoming an important tool for communication and translation- a universal language in the digital age!
Sources: Wired, Forbes, BBC, The Atlantic, Groovypost