The emojis you always wanted (and some you didn’t know you needed) by illustrator Andreas Samuelsson
Having never quite clicked with the existing emojis on offer, the Gothenburg-based illustrator has made his own set with publisher Nieves including a cafetière, a perfect green olive, some sex toys and a pencil sharpening.
- Lucy Bourton
- 12 October 2020
Illustrator Andreas Samuelsson has never really got used to using emojis. “It did not feel like my thing,” he tells It’s Nice That, “I can still struggle to find the right one today.” A visual communicator who often uses shapes or his own renditions of everyday objects in his work, you can understand how, aesthetically and communicatively, emojis didn’t quite hit the mark. And so together with publisher Nieves, Andreas has made his own set, which you can download too.
Specifically emerging in what Andreas describes as “the absence of an image communication with cleaner forms,” the illustrator’s emoji set feels similar to existing emojis, but speaks to his need to be “more stripped down and work for all ages”.
Setting himself the goal of “evoking emotion and finding a free dialogue,” Andreas’ 100 new emojis are drawn purposefully in their simplest form. Each is made from an outline shape and one, possibly two, colours if needed. “The simpler you draw an object,” the illustrator adds, “the more unexpected the image.”
Turning down the tone slightly to Apple’s original and ever growing set of emojis, each of Andreas’ drawings are also soft shapes in order to “create opportunities to give sensitive primaries a new inner meaning,” he explains. A selection of the emojis are also quite ambiguous. There are familiar shapes, like the red and white stripe of a paracetamol, an eye, an apple or an egg, but elsewhere there is one which we figure must be the outline of a hot dog, a crisp little pencil sharpening, a boob and even a few sex toys. There is also the very welcome addition of some new emojis, like a cafetière, a peg, a ping pong bat, a perfect green olive and a high hat. When poking the illustrator to explain the reasoning behind why he’s created some of these, or what they actually are, he adds, “I like how the pictures can be interpreted in several different ways.”
By keeping interpretation open in his emoji designs, Andreas hopes it will only allow for more conversation, an example of which can be shown in a short animation of the emojis by Wim Dijksterhuis. “I like SMS as communication,” he adds. “With the right person, a pulse is created between the lines. You can feel how the other thinks and together a rhythm is created. The dialogue becomes like notes on a line.” It’s easy to imagine how two pals may pick up their own routines and favourites in pinging Andreas’ emojis back and forth, especially as their ambiguity makes room for a laugh too. “I also like the humorous undertone of a dialogue,” says the illustrator. “With image you can take it to a more abstract level and let the shapes and colours speak for themselves.”
With plans to continue drawing emojis, ideally another 100 in the future, “It will be interesting to look at this over time and let the image ideas grow by themselves,” Andreas concludes. The full set can be downloaded for iOS via the app store here.
Andreas Samuelsson x Nieves: Emojis (Copyright © Andreas Samuelsson, Nieves 2020)
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019, was made deputy editor and in November 2021, she became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.