Emojis as design elements

I woke up to this tweet and it made me laugh:

I laughed again when Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, replied back with this:

Emojis are a universal language. Everyone uses them. There's no learning curve to using emojis. They are an important part of private conversations by mobile messaging, text and email. They're a « serious » matter to Google's CEO. 

People are attached to them and will voice their concern publicly when emojis are removed/added or re-designed. They're a reflection of our culture and other cultures. They're part of our language. 

The point I want to make today is that I believe using emojis as design elements have propelled us in a new era of the web.

I believe emojis have:

  1. lowered the barriers for content creation online
  2. lowered the importance of media such as photos/videos in web design
  3. changed basic design/UX principles
  4. improved the clarity of communication for everyone

Emojis are a rising tide that lifts all boats. Let me oversimplify things:

  • 1989: the web is basically The Matrix = nobody knows how to use it
  • 1994: everything is HTML = javascript, coders only
  • 1996: everything is flash = designers only
  • 1998: everything is CSS = designers + coders only
  • 2007: mobile + social = content creation is a bit easier, yay!
  • 2010: responsive web design = it's complicated again, designers + coders only
  • 2014: video/photo era = everyone with a camera can produce viral videos
  • 2017: mobile + emojis = everyone can make punchy memes, tweets and newsletters

Basically, what I'm trying to illustrate is that in 2017, you can communicate creatively and efficiently with text, photos, and emojis.

You don't need web designers, coders, videographers, photographs to help you communication emotion online. You have emojis.

Emojis bridge the gap between text content and design by adding emotion to text. If you're a webmaster, a social media manager, a newsletter writer or any kind of content creator online, you can do a lot with emojis.

Here's a good example from Product Hunt's newsletter. It's all about good copy and a good emoji game. How much time do you think they spent « designing » this newsletter?

Capture d’écran 2017-10-29 à 11.46.02.png

They didn't have 4 rounds of correction with a full design team. The newsletter curator probably wrote it in a single setting. And still, it competes well with any well-designed newsletter in my inbox. It's good content with a lot of personalities.

Using emojis as design elements to replace photos, custom icons and calls-to-action is a smart move!