THE DELICATE ART OF CREATING NEW EMOJI

MARK PERNICE

MARK PERNICE

BACK IN 1999, when the mobile internet first flickered to life on Japan’s i-mode, email was confined to a snug 250 characters. Email! So when designer Shigetaka Kurita centered pixels on his potter’s wheel and spun them into sunshine and rain, he was both supplying a jolt of atmospherics to the early smog-screened smartphone and frugally conserving space.

Kurita’s horizontal rain and naval-ensign sun were among the first 176 emoji. These symbols, of course, put meat on the bones of emoticons, the digital typographical form born in the 1970s on Plato, a computer-based teaching system. Plato emoticons had to be styled by hand, with meticulous backspacing, like screen-based needlepoint. But they were also much more sophisticated than later ASCII and could be quite beautiful when encountered in the bleak midwinter of Arpanet-era networks.

This article was originally sourced from here.

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