Emojis – an icon is born

A picture can, as we know, paint a thousand words. Thanks to emojis, the character limits on our texts, instant messaging services and social media have been exponentially extended allowing us to say it (whatever ‘it’ might be) with a smattering of flowers, faces, flags and felines. Account Director Louise Harris writes on why she’s giving emojis the thumbs-up

2015 was, in many ways, emoji-onal. It was a year which showed us that the power of the humble emoji went beyond its ability to add colour and flair to our text-based digital interactions.

It was the year in which we saw icons showing same-sex couples, people of different races and religious denominations emerge for the first time as emojis evolved to better reflect the society which loves them so.

The year the Oxford English Dictionary decided to award its “word of the year” accolade to emoji (or rather, to an emoji – the ‘face with tears of joy emoji’). The icon of a smiling yellow face with tears running down it apparently best reflected the “ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015”.

Pretty powerful stuff. As with many digital trends which emerge and bloom through social media, big brands have been quick to capitalise on innovative ways to join the conversation.

During the summer’s Rugby World Cup, fans tweeting their support using the much-promoted hashtag #RWC2015 were delighted to find a host of new icons, including a player landing a try and country-specific rugby balls, added to their posts.

Pop culture trendsetter Kim Kardashian West made another attempt in 2015 at breaking the internet, this time by launching her ‘Kimoji’ app. While it didn’t quite succeed in bringing the world’s internet servers to a standstill, the app did shoot straight to the top of the AppStore as fans raced to download the tools to enable them to share ‘Contour (should that be Kontour?) Kim face’ and other icons representing her favourite things.

It remains to be seen if anyone will try to keep up with Ms Kardashian in the personalised emoji stakes, but what is clear is that emojis present brands with enormous potential to embed themselves in our everyday conversations and interactions.


Freshwater communications consultancy offers services including strategic brand advice, graphic and digital design and public relations for a range of clients across the UK.


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Impact Report 2017

Impact report 2017