The emoji standard


First I’d like to admit to a slight bit of going back on things, essentially when I said I’d be dropping Pokémon GO for a week, I picked it back up in a few days because of the group I was with going on Lugia raids and I wasn’t doing too much at the moment. Also I found an unboxed blind box figure from the Fallout 4 range I liked, but at least it’s a robot and not the weird anime look they decided to give all the people in the range.

Anyway, with that off my mind, turning now to the wake of the release of some bizarre animated film which turned out as good and/or bad as people pretty much expected, I’ve had some thoughts about what emoji even are and what even happened.

I’m likening the emoji thing as a worse resurgence of the whole smiley face thing back from the 60s or 70s, essentially the basis of emoji from the ancient times. A simple design, two eyes and a mouth on a yellow circle. That was pretty much all the emoji we needed, back before they were even called as such. Then they had others, like the poison control center “mascot” Mr. Yuk. I don’t think we’ll be counting the Mr. Men and their female counterparts despite being geometric-ish shapes with faces.

At some point when computers came about more, they decided to invent this joking mark denoted by a colon and a right parenthesis, shown as “:)”. We call that a smiley face. Naturally, the sad variant is achieved by the opposite parenthesis, shown as “:(“. They added more and more onto these as the text communications grew. I once spent a time at an apartment with a shower that had a curtain filled with these text emoticons, of course it was mainly the kind with the added nose shown as “:-)”.

But now, it’s all emoji, essentially adding something on to the Unicode standard which has the ability to render pictures on supported devices. I think they had nothing better to do and had plenty of room in the standard to just start filling it with pictures. I wonder what they’ll do when they run out of room.

Also, they always use this one specific type of emoji, maybe two, between Apple and Emojione, I guess. As an Android user, they all look pretty generic to me, and I currently have the blob creature style of emoji. I’m running Android 7 (N) on my phone. I’ve looked into Android 8 (O) and it’s going to change the emoji to match with the rest even more. I was already somewhat disappointed when they better matched the standard after Android 4.4 so they got rid of my favorite one, the hairy heart, which was apparently just yellow in the standard. However all the rest of the general smiley type faces stayed this blob creature of some sort, even though the blob shape sorta changed a little, it was still different. Now, with this new Android, they’re going to swap out for even more generic emoji that resemble Apple’s quite a bit, and a lot of media outlets seem to see this as a good thing. I like Android because it’s different from iOS, and you can actually access the file system instead of it being some mysterious bin where data might exist. I forget if they’re also going to change the camera app to work just like the iPhone’s as well, because that would make it less convenient, I like being able to blindly hit anywhere on the screen to take a picture since I might be in a situation where I can’t see the screen. But that’s not emoji.

So my problem with emoji is how obsessively prevalent they are for being so generic. It’s a lot like the Pop figures, but now there’s literally poop figures. There’s two constants with these, the “crying while laughing” and “poop” will always make an appearance on “official” emoji stuff. They’re smiley faces. Kinda. This has happened before with the text emoticons a few years back. I thought the text emoticon shower curtain was tacky as it was, but at least it wasn’t emoji. For the record I’ve picked a much more serene scene for my current shower curtain, if that’s somehow important.

And of course, they felt the need to make a movie about it. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a work of art or a corporate cash grab to try to take money from the younger people, even though those two might mean the same thing. From what I’ve read, apparently when Sony’s e-mails leaked, they were trying to figure out how to use phrases that would match those younger folks and make them spend lots of money. I think they found those phrases from a Yahoo search on a newspaper article from over a decade ago. Then again this is the same general corporate area which worked on an Angry Birds movie.

So essentially whenever I go to the store now, there’s just some kind of emoji merchandise. It’s not retro like the smiley face, or like the Watchmen one with the blood on it, it’s pretty much just they took a graphic from your phone (if it’s an iPhone) and blew it up and charge like $20 for it. I’ll say this, though, if they did have emoji merchandise that followed the Android style with the cute blob monsters, I’d be more okay with that, don’t know if I’d buy it then, though. I’d just be more okay. Those have personality to them and aren’t just a template of perceived emotion. Also even with the obsession over the poop emoji, the Android 7 one is still cuter.

I just find Apple emoji too detailed, they should be simpler and easier to read like the current Android ones, they don’t need super HD shading and skin pores. I also go with the generic cartoon yellow skin tone if I have a choice, since these are cartoons and you can just be like “here is a person” because they have person emoji. If you want to specify the skin color, sure, you have the option, but if they’re adding realistic tones, I think they should add even more cartoony ones like blue or green as well because you already have Simpsons yellow. Apparently the standard allows for that scenario, potentially, given how it’s encoded.