A complete history of emojis

A complete history of emojis

The world’s fasted growing language, aka the emoji language, might not be at the tip of your tongue, but it’s definitely everyone’s go-to digital language. How many of you wish you could speak in just emojis. It’s always easier to convey your thoughts using visual cues, isn’t it? Using emojis makes everything funnier and truly lightens up the mood. 

Today, people use emojis to announce practically everything on social media or communicate any highlight in their lives. Don’t have the perfect caption for your picture or how to put something in words? Try Emojis. There’s an emoji for everything. In fact, Oxford’s word of the year in 2015 was…😂(crying-laughing emoji). That doesn’t seem too surprising, does it?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Emojis took this phrase literally and truly changed how the world communicated digitally. While emojis may not fit the criteria of a picture, they are definitely pictorial icons that can practically represent any emotion, feeling, object or symbol. 

There are thousands of emojis available on social media. So, it’s not a surprise that Reddit has forums dedicated to lengthy discussions on emojis. Although this may seem bizarre, if you stop to think about it. Can you go a day without using at least one emoji for a little comic relief?

Speaking of bizarre, artist Yung Jake reinvented emojis through his celebrity emoji portrait series. He basically created large portraits of famous celebrities like Rihanna and The Weeknd among a few. He created this art with a purpose by paying great attention to detail and leveraging people’s obsession with emojis. It doesn’t get better than this.

Image Credits: Yung Jake, portrait of The Weeknd.

Now that we’ve gotten here, let’s take a trip down memory lane and understand how it all began. 

Saved by the Emoji: How it all Started

In 1862, The New York Times was responsible for printing out the first emoticon ‘;)’ which was apparently a mistake. Although, we all secretly wish it wasn’t. The emoticon was printed alongside a transcribed copy of President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at the time. 

Image Credits: Times transcript of Abraham Lincoln’s speech in 1862

Around 20 years later, emoticons were used intentionally for the first time ever. The March 1881 issue of Puck, an American satirical magazine, featured a tiny essay on ‘Typographical Art.’ The art showcased expressions of Joy, Melancholy, Indifference, and Astonishment. 

Image credits – Originally published in Puck no. 212, p. 65.

Fast forward to a century later, Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, proposed the usage of ‘joke markers.’ This was done to help eliminate misunderstandings on the university’s online bulletin boards. Giving rise to modern emoticons in the process.

We’re all guilty of adding a little smiley face or two after a serious text to lighten up the ch-atmosphere. So, when you come to think of it, Scott Fahlman was really onto something there. 

Speaking of modern emoticons, let’s meet the man, the myth, and the legend behind them. Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese artist, created the first set of 176 emojis using symbols, objects, and characters. Today, his masterpiece resides at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), sanctifying its place in design history. 

Image credits – Shigetaka Kurita. Emoji. 1998-1999

Moving along..

It wasn’t long before big tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple used their resources and brought emojis to our smartphones and laptops.  

In 2015 skin-tone inclusive emojis were introduced to the digital space. Katrina Parrott created the first set of emojis with different skin-tone options. Her idea stemmed from her teenage daughter’s inability to express herself through the only skin-tone option available.

Image Credits: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Within six months, she built and launched iDiversicons. This iPhone app allowed users to copy and paste emoji with five distinct skin tones into their messages.

Now, coming to 2022, emojis have taken the digital world by storm. We all use emojis on a daily basis. Did you know that you can view the emojis used on Twitter in real-time? Today, with approximately 3,460 emojis existing in the digital world, it seems like the emoji language is quickly becoming a fan favorite. 

Today, emojis go beyond the expression of basic emotions like love, sadness, anger & joy. Emojis have become more comprehensive and diverse. Thus, they can convey more complex emotions.

Now that you have a fair idea about the history of emojis, let’s understand how they reach your smartphones in the first place.

The Unicode Consortium, a non-profit group made up mostly of volunteers from tech firms, is responsible for deciding which emojis make the final cut into our smartphones. The team is headed by 63-year-old Mark Davis, who approves the new emojis to the roster. Come to think of it, the emojis millennials and Gen Z use today are being approved by boomers. That’s pretty ironic to say the least.

Why do we 💗 Emojis?

Have you ever typed a message full of just emojis? If your answer to that was a yes, you probably aren’t alone. Today, with over 5 billion emojis being sent per minute on messenger, it’s almost impossible to ignore them. Even Drake couldn’t resist making the album cover for ‘Certified Lover Boy’ all about emojis.

Image credits – Certified Lover Boy by Drake. OVO/Republic

We live in an extremely visual society that depends heavily on visual cues. Take videos, for example. Would you rather read a manual on how to build a sofa or simply watch a YouTube tutorial or short video and call it a day? If you picked the latter, then you’re definitely in the majority. 

In fact, we love emojis so much that we decided to turn ourselves into one! Bitmoji, an app bought by Snapchat, makes it possible to create animated emoji versions of yourself. With numerous pop culture references, it allows you to create funky personalized emojis that can be shared over any social media platform. Truly a great online ice-breaker!

Dissolve.com loves emojis to the point that they decided to create a short documentary titled ‘Emoji Among Us’ dedicated to them. Sounds like someone really had a fangirl moment. 

Supporting link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgE_2XylOCk&t=76s 

Although Dissolve set the benchmark pretty high, this doesn’t beat Miley Cyrus, who went got a sad kitty emoji tattooed inside her lip. 

Designers X Emoji

Even high-end designers are all for emojis. Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Jeremy Scott, and even Bitmojis’s design collection rose to the occasion and designed their own fashion emoji packs. 

Image Credits: Topshop x Nordstrom Emojis 

Apart from emoji packs, these designers have also graced the runway with their emoji-inspired collections. Take Acne Studios, for instance; they released an entire line of emoji hats, tees, and sweatshirts. Who would’ve thought of turning emojis into haute couture?

Image Credits: Sweatshirt, Acne Studios Emoji collection

Say it with an emoji

Emojis are a way to showcase any expression or object virtually. We use them to convey our emotions. It’s a way to break the monotony of long typed conversations. In fact, in 2015, it was found that nearly half of the text on Instagram contains emojis. This was revealed in a research conducted by Thomas Dimson, a software engineer behind Instagram’s Hyperlapse app. 

Emojis have also grown in popularity over the last few years. With the pandemic restricting our everyday communication, emojis came to the rescue and helped us break that barrier at work. They may be a small way of brightening up the conversation, but can you imagine how dry your texts would be without them.

Various organization apps such as Slack and Gmail have introduced emojis and reactions to ease conversations and increase engagement among peers. Even the WordPress 4.2 update in early 2015 made itself emoji-compatible. Otherwise, how else would we get this blog to you 😉. Emojis are a universal mode of communication understood by all. So, what’s not to love about them!

Trending Emojis of 2021 

While most of you may believe that your emojis game is superior, it’s hard to deny that a majority of us end up using the same set of emojis. These emojis ultimately end up making it to our’ frequently used’ page on the emoji keyboard. 

Image Credits: Unicode Consortium

Well, it’s no surprise that the 😂 (crying-laughing emoji) was the most used emoji of 2021. Accounting for around 5% of the total emojis used that year. This emoji was everyone’s go-to. The simple ❤️ (red heart) secured second place. A perfect expression of love, friendship, and appreciation, this emoji truly stole the hearts of many. 

In third place, we have the 🤣 (rolling on the floor laughing) emoji. This one needs no introduction. It’s the emoji equivalent to the expression ‘ROFL’. Taking fourth place, we have every dad’s favorite emoji, the 👍 (thumbs up) emoji. In most cases, it is used interchangeably with the word ‘okay.’ That’s probably why it’s a cult favorite among all the dads out there. 

Last but most certainly not the least comes the 😭 (loudly crying face). Tired? Sad? Hungry? Annoyed? Frustrated? This emoji is super versatile and can be used to display a wide range of emotions. 

Well, now that we’ve covered the trending emojis of the last year, let’s get into what’s new in 2022. 

Upcoming Emojis 

Melting face, Biting lip, Saluting face, Bubbles, ID cards, X-ray. These aren’t random words we’re throwing around. These are among the 37 new emojis with 75 skin tones added to the Unicode update for 2022. The following emojis feature niche expressions and objects to add to your overall emoji collection. It’s time to flaunt that unmatched emoji game. 

Image Credits – Emojipedia, emojis in iOS 15.4 beta

How can you get these emojis on your device?

Well, for everyone out there, you can breathe. All you need to start off is a smartphone and a basic understanding of your mobile device. For all the iOs users out there, the process is relatively simple: 

  • Make sure your phone is updated to the latest available version. 
  • Go to Settings < General 
  • Under General, head over to the keyboard option and select the keyboards submenu
  • Select the ‘Add Keyboard’ option and simply pick the emoji option

You can use an emoji keyboard across various social media platforms! 

Don’t worry; we didn’t forget about you Android users out there. For our Android users, here’s how to get to the newest emojis: 

  • Go to your Settings menu and go to System > Language & Input
  • Under the keyboard option, select On-screen Keyboard > Gboard (or your default keyboard).
  • Select Preferences.
  • Select the how Emoji-switch Key

Both iOS and Android users get access to multiple emoji options. Depending on your device, you may also get a different set of emojis. So, if, for some reason, you don’t have access to them, just follow these simple steps and go bombard your friends with all the emojis! Shhhh, you didn’t hear this from us 🤷‍♀️.

What’s in Store for 2022: The Future of Emojis

With over 92% of the world’s internet population using emojis as a mode of communication, it’s no surprise that with every passing year, there is a new slew of emojis that follow through. In 2021, we saw the 😂 (crying-laughing emoji) strike again by being the most used emoji of the year. Seems like this emoji is quite the crowd-pleaser. 

Now, speaking of 2022. Have you heard of Yats? Chances are that you’re probably looking at your screen in utter confusion. 

Well, 2022 is off to quite a start in the emoji arena. Created by Yat Labs, Yats are essentially digital assets featuring a string of exclusive emojis. 

To purchase a Yat, all you need to do is fill out this form, pay up, and you will have your own universal internet identity using personalized emojis. All the cool kids are doing it. G-easy, Paris Hilton, Kesha, and Disclosure are among a few that hopped onto the Yat bandwagon. 

While Yats aren’t automatically NFTs, a Yat owner can choose to create a token that justifies the ownership of the emoji combination on a blockchain. 

The Path Ahead: Future of Emoji 

The world just wouldn’t seem right if we didn’t plug in the Metaverse here. Have you heard of a memoji yet? Well, if you haven’t, brace yourselves since this might be your new avatar in the Metaverse. Apple introduced this concept well ahead of competitors like Facebook and Google. This personalized animated emoji will represent humans within mixed reality settings. 

Image Credits: Apple; Armand Khoury/Unsplash

What’s even more bizarre is the fact that you can easily speak through your own memoji during messaging sessions or FaceTime calls on your iPhone. For example, The Real Indian Dad truly champions the usage of memojis on Instagram. In mixed reality, your Memoji will act as a 3D avatar representing you in immersive work or social meet-ups. 

Go all out with emojis on Rizzle

At Rizzle, we take our emojis pretty seriously. Whether it is in the form of a prompt or a challenge, you can use emojis and showcase your creativity using the spectacular features we have on the app. Rizzle’s #emojiclicks saw creators rise to the occasion and create short videos featuring tons of emojis! It was truly an emoji fest. 

Here’s a video idea; you can dress up as your most-used emojis and subject the world to your limitless creativity! So, what are you waiting for? Go download the Rizzle app and start creating!

For those who aren’t entirely convinced to create a video yet, do leave us a comment below with your most-used emojis to date. 

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