Emojis have become an everyday affair – more so as they leap out of our phones and on to clothes, shoes, and art galleries. At celebrity chef Gaggan Anand’s eponymous Bangkok restaurant, diners decipher his menu that is written in emojis. Closer home, you can send an emoji postcard from Mumbai-based PostMoji. Next month, Pondicherry-based luxe chocolatier Zuka is launching 12 varieties of chocolate named after feelings — tired, loving, grumpy, flirty and more — and the wrappers will have corresponding emojis.
It is not all for the sake of novelty though: Philadelphia-based Joe Vela says he launched the Emojibator — a line of suggestively-shaped vibrators, like the eggplant emoji — two years ago “to make conversations on sex and masturbation easier” by making them more accessible. He reveals that they are currently working on a male sex toy as well: it is anyone’s guess what emoji this one will use.
In 2015, emoji historian Jeremy Burge created World Emoji Day, which is observed as an unofficial holiday on July 17. Today, as thousands gather to celebrate all things emoji at the third annual Emojicon in New York, with spelling bees, karaoke, food and games, we round up some interesting ways in which the pictogram has inspired designs the world over.
Emoji, the book: You’ve watched the movie, now read the book. Featuring the original set of 176 emojis created by Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita, this edition, compiled by design duo Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth will be out in October this year. The 12 x 12 pixel designs that were created in 1999 date back to pre-smartphone cellphones. While Kurita’s original set were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art two years ago, this book is expected to feature full-colour recreations of the emojis and their corresponding black-and-white pixel grid designs with original technical data — a sweet something for collectors!
Kimoji perfumes: Kim Kardashian West — who launched her personalised ‘Kimoji’ two years ago — has managed to turn it into a brand popular for their racy versions of pool floats, post it notes, iPhone cases and a whole lot of accessories featuring her Internet-breaking butt and its emoji counterpart, the peach. Newest from the line are perfumes, with one of the bottles inspired by the fruit. On her Instagram Stories, West described it as having notes of “juicy peach, fresh nectarine, jasmine petals, peach blossom, creamy vanilla, sandalwood, and musk”. There is also a cherry version, with “luscious raspberry, sweet strawberry, cherry blossom, gardenia petals, vanilla, woods and musk” notes, according to the brand’s Instagram. The scents are dropping first at the KKW Beauty pop-up in Los Angeles today, and on kkwfragrance.com from July 17.
Emoji Sculptures: American artist Mathew la Penta, whose recreation of the ancient Greek sculpture Venus de Milo holding a cellphone caught the attention of art lovers, has for the past three years been creating colourful, sculptures of emoji faces cast in bronze or stainless steel, including a popular 12-inch poop face emoji. He calls the emoji a “cultural icon, and the first truly global language” and has just finished creating sculptures of three new pieces — the peace hand, the prayer hand and just in time for Pride month, a rainbow.
Manish Arora x Tuzki: The popular Chinese emoji found its way onto the runway as part of Manish Arora’s Paris Fashion week show early this year. The collection features his classic play of bold colours and intricate embellishments against prints of Tuzki the bunny on a day out in Paris — he is seen meditating below the Eiffel tower and chilling with a class of wine, reflecting a ‘composed, relaxed yet cool lifestyle’. The line features dresses, sweatshirts, pants, clutches, backpacks, jackets and t-shirts.
Interracial Couple Emoji Project: Emojis have gradually increased their fold to include representation of same-sex couples and people of colour. However, Tinder feels that inter-racial couples have been denied their space. The dating app launched an online campaign this year, asking for 50,000 signatures to appeal to the Unicode Consortium to be more inclusive with couples (at the time of writing, the number stood at 44,603). Don’t expect anything to happen overnight, however: it can take up to two years for a proposed emoji to complete the review, approval and standardisation process.