Last week, the internet exploded with news about Unicode Emoji 13.0 adding 62 different emoji to our lives. It includes such selections as bubble tea, people holding babies, and my personal favorite, the Arabic “Wait habibi, I’ll show you” hand sign.
This is great news. I, for one, am a hardcore emoji user, frequenting selections like 😂, 🤷♂️, and 😘. Emojis help me express emotion in ways words might not always be able to — especially with non-human objects. For instance, what do I mean when I use that ✨? Even I don’t know for sure, but it helps me convey a specific feeling over the hyper-depersonalized system of messaging, and for that I am grateful.
Unicode’s emoji only serve as guidelines for objects or emotions, not the sole version available. Platforms have to produce their owninterpretations of emojis that will fit their specific style/design – Samsung, Apple, Google, Facebook & even Microsoft have their own emoji designs. And this usually leads to online wars between the fans on whose emojis look best.
From 2013 to 2017, Google used a selection of emoji on its devices and services which were called “the blobs” by the fans, they were cute little yellow circles with a minimalist flat design. Everybody loved their simple, minimalistic design and expressive features.
But then, in 2017, Google introduced Android 8.0 Oreo, and a new emoji design which was terribly bad, looked outdated with new shading and extra elements, that made it look like an Apple knock-off design pack.
In emoji, we are meant to see ourselves and use less words!
The more detail you add to an emoji, the less opportunity it has to universally represent our own image. It is supposed to be generic, yet fun.
I often catch myself mimicking the face on my screen when deciding what emoji I want to send. I think about the expression I would make if I was standing directly in front of the recipient. Does this emoji represent me? Or more accurately, does it represent what I’m feeling? The blobs sure did.
I understand why Google shifted to the new design. Not everyone in the world uses Google devices and services, and it’s important that we’re able to accurately pass emotion across platforms. But It made Google stand out.
Still, there are many people out there that feel similarly to me when it comes to blobs. Apparently, some even work at Google. If you use Gboard, there are two animated sticker packs that feature my blobby bois, which will live on in this format. One is titled “The Blobs Live On,” and the other is “Long Live the Blob.” Clearly, blob fans’ pains were heard far and wide.
Well, long live the Blob stickers!