In 1999, Shigetaka Kurita created 176 digital icons that fit in a 12×12 pixel grid. Pagers, then cell phones, then smartphones ran with the emoji concept. Now MoMA is acquiring the original set, and MoMA's Paul Galloway will be discussing the collection at Emojicon this week.
Emoji blew past ASCII art in popularity as soon as it was added to Unicode 6.0 in 2010. As Emojicon notes:
Emoji are used by over 92% of people online ?. This visual communication helps people more accurately express what they're thinking ❤️ and has helped create individual connections to global movements and campaigns. Emoji Learn is the platform to connect the global emoji community. Come discuss the evolving role of emoji on cultures and brands around the world, meet members of the Unicode Consortium's Emoji Subcommittee, and get a behind the scenes view on emoji design processes from global leaders.
Image: Shigetaka Kurita, gift of NTT DoCoMo