• 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.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Kingadz-autenticity-list

    In the branding and advertising world, authenticity seems to have become the Holy Grail. Seemingly melded to whatever people need it to convey, it’s become a buzzword whose significance has mushroomed while its meaning has all but vanished. With this in mind King Adz, aka Adam N. Stone – whose new book Unbrandable is out this summer – considers what authenticity really means in a contemporary creative context. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  2. Kinfolk_14.cover

    The latest issue of Gym Class magazine has an eye-catching cover; with bold block capitals on a black background spelling out: “Nobody cares about your oh-so-cool, Kickstarted, tactile, minimalist unoriginal magazine.” It’s intended as a “call to action,” Gym Class editor Steven Gregor told MagCulture, “make magazines, and make them exceptional.”

  3. Applewtach-list-int

    The Apple Watch was officially unveiled yesterday (as was a super-thin 13.1mm new MacBook) and as ever the internet is awash with run-downs and reactions slobbering over the new products. For Wolff Olins design director Jan Eumann though, the imminent arrival of the new timepiece got him thinking about logo design, and in particular how app buttons have rehabilitated the logo. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  4. Rod-hunt-int-hero

    Do you really need an agent? Why? What do they actually do? In a talk hosted by The Illustrator’s Guild of Ireland at this year’s Offset festival a panel featuring Peepshow Collective’s Andrew Rae and Chrissie Macdonald, illustrators Rod Hunt and Matthew Griffin and Bernstein & Andriulli agent Sam Summerskill, we heard about how best to go about finding an agent, what they look for and what they get up to. Here’s what we learnt…

  5. Opinion-int-list

    After visiting the Design Indaba conference in South Africa, Rob Alderson asks if the leading designers working today favour humility and modesty over the cloying over-confidence of their predecessors. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  6. Opinion-davidpearson-int-list

    Last week an interesting Twitter debate sprang up after a comment by graphic designer Andy Pressman who admitted that on a recent series he worked on it wasn’t always possible to read the books before designing the covers. So we decided to speak to a few other book cover designers and find out where they stand on this apparently quite divisive design issue; as ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  7. Marckremers-opinion-int-list

    As part of the digital design showcase we are running with Represent, we interviewed Marc Kremers and found him in an unflinching mood as he detailed some of the issues he felt were affecting the industry. Such was the reaction to Marc’s piece both on the microsite and social media, we have decided (with his permission) to republish an excerpt of his interview here. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below, and check out the dedicated digital design showcase here.

  8. Ije-nwokorie-indaba-sun

    As CEO of Wolff Olins, Ije Nwokorie is well-versed in the creative landscape; the forces that shape it and in turn how it shapes our world. Describing himself as “born in the US, bred in Nigeria and enlightened in England” he also has a global sensibility that sets him apart from many of his peers.

  9. Opinion-int-list

    A new survey has identified what clients see as the four worst types of design agency, and Rob Alderson suggests we should listen to what they had to say. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below..

  10. Robertbye-opinion-list

    The intern debate is still one of the most talked-about issues whenever we meet young designers. This week Robert Bye wrote an interesting article about why, after three months interning in a design consultancy, he believes doing crappy jobs did sometimes make sense.

  11. List

    Assistant editor Maisie Skidmore chimes in on the debate about the presence of full-frontal male nudity in Rick Owens’ AW15 collection which showed in Paris a few days ago. Do you think penises on the catwalk are a step too far? Leave your comments below!

  12. List

    Following this week’s news that plain cigarette packaging could be introduced in England as soon as next year, Studio Minerva co-founder and creative strategy lead Silas Amos tells us about the designs that made his relationship with smoking “always equally one with the branding.”

  13. Artsemergency-list

    Earlier this week James Blunt’s open letter to shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant went viral, in which the musician hit back at the MP’s assertion that the arts was dominated by those from privileged backgrounds. But Jonathan Wakeham of Arts Emergency and The London Comedy Film Festival believes James’ (admittedly amusing) letter missed the point. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comments thread below.