Emoji, for better or worse, are a big deal these days. And if you’ve ever been curious how the early stages of their development went at Apple, well, one former intern has some insight.
Angela Guzman was an intern at Apple back in the day when emoji were just going through the design phase, and, with the assistance of another designer, Raymond, put together the first batch of emoji that would become immensely popular over the years to come. Yes, including the poop emoji.
“When design leads to friendship, and that friendship leads back to design, magic happens. This is the story of how an intern and her mentor designed Apple’s original emoji set and together changed the way people communicate around the world. It was also a project that led them to become lifelong friends, a key ingredient in the success of these tiny icons. In a nutshell, I was the intern and Raymond is my lifelong friend and mentor. In the course of three months, together we created some of the most widely used emoji: face with tears of joy, pile of poo, red heart, and party popper, plus around 460 additional ones. Later, as a full time Apple employee, I even got to create a few more.”
Guzman at the time was a student at Rhode Island School of Design, while also interning for Apple. She’s put up a nice write-up over at Medium, giving a brief look at those early days in light of her tenth anniversary working with Apple back then. Guzman says she was effectively given a crash course in Apple design, something that has changed quite a bit since 2008, and went forward designing emoji. Interestingly, and yet not too surprising, Steve Jobs actually reviewed swathes of emoji before they were moved on to any additional phases, or approved on the spot.
The emoji that Guzman designed initially went live in Japan first, in November of 2008.
“This year will mark the tenth anniversary of Apple’s original emoji launch. They were first released in Japan on November of 2008, shortly after my internship at Apple concluded. I had no idea that within a few months of completing such project, it would revolutionize our culture’s way of communicating or how the emoji would physically appear everywhere. And I mean everywhere: toys, apparel, stickers, candy, music videos, books, jewelry, landmarks, movies, and whatever else you’ve seen.”
Guzman gives kudos to Raymond, as well as any and all additional designers that have put in hard work developing emoji over the years. The full story is definitely worth checking out, and you can find it through the source link below.
Which emoji do you use the most?
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