Serif in Education

Show me some Emoji!

October 31st is most notably Halloween. But people all over the country were looking forward to more than just dressing up in their fright night outfits and trick or treating. Because October 31st 2016 was the day that Apple launched its new iOS 10.2 set of Emoji’s.


Hard to comprehend but in a survey by TalkTalk Mobile, 72% of 18 to 25-year-olds said they found it easier to put their feelings across in emoji icons than in text.


And according to Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University, who is studying the “speed of evolution”, Emoji is now the fastest growing language in the UK and evolving faster than ancient forms of communication, such as hieroglyphics.


It is important therefore to recognise that amongst students of all ages, there is a big emphasis on using pictures and graphics to represent words and create sentences like never before.


Yes, the thing that has dominated the world in the last few years was in fact created by a man named Shigetaka Kurita. He was part of the team working on i-mode — a project that was just beginning to take shape, but would be the world’s first widespread mobile internet platform, combining features like weather forecasts, entertainment reservations, news, and email. i-mode would prove so popular that it would completely engulf the country, giving Japan’s mobile internet a nearly 10-year lead internationally. (See more here:


“At the time, the specs on the devices were really poor, so they weren’t able to display images, for example,” Kurita explains. Pocket Net had weather news, but things like ‘cloudy’ and ‘sunny’ were just spelled out in text. The lack of visual cues made the service more difficult to use than it ought to be, and Kurita recognized that AT&T’s mobile experience would benefit majorly from some extra characters to show contextual information.”


He just needed to create a complete set of 176 12-pixel by 12-pixel characters that could cover the entire breadth of human emotion. With only a 12-by-12 grid to play with, Kurita had to be economical with the use of space in his designs, and the resulting characters were exceedingly simple.  The word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji) in Japanese.


The new update by Apple includes 72 emojis approved in June 2016, such as the long awaited shrug, the fingers crossed sign and the pregnant lady.


According to Emojipedia, “in total 16 new professions are supported, which appear as 32 emojis on the keyboard — one female, one male. Times that by six skin tone options, and this list of 16 jobs becomes 192 distinct images.”


“The new art style is more bulbous, with sharp details which are beautiful. Whilst they think it’s a shame to lose some of the hand crafted details of the original set, they say this new 3D-style set looks like a cohesive collection.”


With more and more students using Emoji’s everyday on their phones or tablets, we thought it would be a good challenge to get creative and ask students to create their very own brand new Emoji using the Serif Design Suite. Perhaps as a class they can share and see how many sentences they can put together with the new Emoji’s they have made?


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