The Origin Of Emoji

#gallery-1 {
margin: auto;
#gallery-1 .gallery-item {
float: left;
margin-top: 10px;
text-align: center;
width: 100%;
#gallery-1 img {
border: 2px solid #cfcfcf;
#gallery-1 .gallery-caption {
margin-left: 0;
/* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

CRAFT: The origin of Emoji

With a mission to “preserve and archive design history”, Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed of publishing house Standards Manual are delving into the late-90s Japanese origins of emoji – one the most popular graphic devises ever conceived.

Designed by Shigetaka Kurita for telecoms company Docomo, the original 176 12×12 pixel motifs were released in 1999 as a marketing ploy – allowing customers to add emotion to text messages which were then restricted by a limited number of characters. No one working on the project could have foreseen the global phenomenon emoji would become. Zoom forward 20 years and emoji has grown from cute digital devise to bona fide graphic language – a universally recognised dictionary whose icons are now sent more than five billion times a day.

Standard Manual are partway through a Kickstarter campaign to publish Emoji, along with a smartphone keyboard of the original graphic motifs.

Back to top
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content