• Top

    Opinion: Emojis

Opinion

Opinion: Are emojis threatening to take over the art and design community?

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

This week editorial assistant Maisie Skidmore is considering the growing influence of the emoji on the art and design community. As ever, you can let us know your favourite examples of emoji-based-creativity or just voice your eternal hatred of the tiny yellow faces and miniature fruits in the comments section below.

Call it the best thing to happen to linguistics since Shakespeare invented the word swagger or the worst plague since the Black Death, but the arrival of the iPhone into modern society has unleashed a veritable tidal-wave of tiny emotive faces into our lives. They were first developed for mobile internet services by Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita in 1998, and quickly made available on phones and computers everywhere.

And we mean everywhere! This week we came across the music video for “Boring Angel” by Oneohtrix Point Never, a slideshow/animation in which a full narrative, including an emotional rollercoaster and a progression in time are all communicated (with varying levels of success) using nothing but those tiny faces an iPhone comes equipped with. Editor James Cartwright was easily swayed: “I expected to hate this because emojis are a heinous crime against humanity and proper communication. But I love it, and will now use emojis religiously.” Sure.

The music video isn’t the first tentative venture of the emoji into the world of art and design, either. We’ve already seen Emojinal Art and entire articles littered with them not to mention the time that Edvard Munch’s Scream was adapted to suit the digital world. And on a whole other level, scientists and psychologists the world over have been conducting studies to examine how far our brains recognise emojis as real faces, revealing frightening but innate emotional reactions to their tiny, round, digital faces.

Believe it or not, the adoption of emojis into our mental sphere might not be the most concerning aspect of their reach. I can already envisage serious linguistic types quaking in their boots at sound of somebody calling out “oh my God SAD FACE!” or “salsa dancing woman!” to articulate feelings of despair or an especially good time respectively, while other happily accept such exclamations into their vocabulary. Still, let’s not forget that it was the truly authoritative Oxford English Dictionary who crowned “selfie” the word of 2013, and not an over enthusiastic teenager.

In the studio, on the other hand, we’re more concerned with those that are missing – unicorns, hedgehogs and uncrowned blonde girls all included “because some blonde girls don’t wear crowns, you know? I mean, I don’t know, any but I’ve heard.”

What do you think? Do you think the emoji plays a part in the slow but definite downfall of the English language, or is it a vast improvement on the dull constrictions of ordinary adjectives? What’s your favourite adaptation? What’s missing? We want to hear it all!

comments powered by Disqus
Ms-300

Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast. She also oversees our London listings guide This At There.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Opinion-list-new

    This week It’s Nice That director Will Hudson talks about why he reckons the new Randall Wright-directed documentary Hockney is so brilliant. You can let us know your thoughts in the comment thread below.

  2. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what it is about weekly podcast Serial that has got the whole world talking. As ever, we want to hear what you think! Add your two pennies in the comment thread below.

  3. List

    This week Rob Alderson examines Paper Magazine’s attempts to “break the internet” with their nude Kim Kardashian photoshoot. He asks if it’s actually a good cover, and what (if anything) it tells us about the magazine industry. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

  4. List

    Ahead of a panel discussion we’re hosting at London College of Communication next week we’re keen to explore whether the gap between design schools and the creative industries is a problem that needs addressing. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  5. List

    In a special Opinion piece, Rob Alderson explains why the closure of London’s Kemistry Gallery is a cause for concern, but why its ambitious future plans need to be encouraged. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  6. Lead

    This week online editor Emily Gosling looks at who can really claim authorship of artworks created using technology designed by someone else. Who can really take the credit for art that might not be possible without the tech know-how of others?

  7. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on an interesting blog by Chloe Markowicz which suggests that people are ashamed to call what they do advertising. As ever you can join the debate and add your comments using the discussion thread below.

  8. Main

    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

  9. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  10. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  11. Opinion-list

    In the wake of the launch of Printed Pages Autumn 2014, Editor James Cartwright wonders and worries about the secret of designing a great magazine cover and asks for any handy hints you might have. Do him a favour and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

  12. Main

    In light of New York Fashion Week’s main event, a star-studded play put on by Opening Ceremony entitled 100% Lost Cotton, the It’s Nice That team began to ponder their own individual dream play, and what that would look like if they were given the chance to direct it. The results are pretty weird to be honest, but you can’t deny the appeal of each and every one in its own way.

  13. Main

    This week Editor Liv Siddall addresses the world’s distraught reaction to the announcement that MSN Messenger will terminate after 15 years in operation, and wonders if we should get so nostalgic and wet-eyed over technology.