23 Jan 2017   admin

More than just a smiley face

More imaginative teenagers and adults can now write entire messages in emojis, and they are changing the way we talk to each other in every sphere of our lives. An emoji movie is in the works, and we live in a world where adding a smiley face the end of a message makes anything preceding it acceptable as a joke. Other emojis are still prone to misinterpretation, especially by new users: No, Mom, thats not a happy scoop of chocolate ice cream!.

Emojis can trace their design routes to the creation of the original yellow smiley face back in the 1960s, which then became familiar to millions as the symbol of acid house rave culture in the 1980s. As we know them today, they emerged in Japan during the 1990s as a way of minimising mobile phone data usage. Now, of course, there are emojis not just for human sentiments, but farm animals, food items and much, much more.

But where do emojis come from? And are our children (and their grasp of language) safe? Let us introduce you to some of the worlds leading emoji designers and you can make up your own minds, LOL.  

With the iPhone taking the world by storm, there was always going to be a need for a large collection of Apple emojis. Enter Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita who developed the first emojis for Apple in 1999. He was initially inspired by Japanese manga animation but Apple emojis now run to some 1 800 examples, and provide a playful way for Apple to reflect not only the needs of their customers, but also get their own philosophy across.

Jen Lewis is the designer behind the first set of emojis for Kim Kardashians wildly popular Kimoji app. This app was on point in so many ways not only did it cement Kims position as a one-woman pop culture phenomenon, but it also spearheaded a trend for celebrities having their own apps as a way of controlling content about themselves.

It has made Kim (another) fortune through downloads and subscriptions, and features emojis which are very relevant to her lifestyle and the one her fans aspire to. Perhaps inevitably, many of them feature Kim or parts of Kim in various states of undress. Others include tequila, diamond rings, Hummers and a black heart.

Twitter famously requires its users to communicate in a limited number of characters, so as youd expect, tweeps everywhere have taken to Twitter emojis like a yellow rubber duck to sushi. US / Swedish design studio Iconfactory was briefed to come up with light-hearted, fun versions of familiar emojis. The studio developed a flat, simple style that is immediately recognisable as belonging to Twitters. Thanks to emoji designers, its never been easier to express big emotions and ideas in a small number of characters.

23 Jan 2017   admin

Off the charts

If we’re honest, there’s always been a bit of a disconnect between physical reality and the way it’s represented on maps. Most world maps are based on the Mercator projection, which dates back to the sixteenth century - slightly before we had GPS to check our bearings. The Mercator was a map with an agenda – it had to convey not-so-subtle messages about power, as well as help sailors find their way. An enlarged Europe sits dead-centre as it was (to Europeans at least) the centre of the universe at this time. Polar regions tended to be squished out of shape, or cut off. Most famously of ...

23 Jan 2017   admin

A design for success?

Strictly defined, design was always about how a product looked and felt, whether it was a Coke bottle, an iPad or a BMW i8. Designers tended to be secluded in hidden corners of businesses, or outsourced entirely.A sea-change is underway, with more and companies understanding that design is not just an aesthetic event, but something which can, when applied more universally, be fundamental to the success of a business. Entrepreneurs are starting to think in terms of design-led businesses, and to create them. In many ways, this trend has emerged from improved technology. Now every company can hav ...