In the digital world, where brevity is valued above all, emoji have become a useful way for us to translate the emotions behind our messages with a simple character.
But until recently, the only emoji faces to choose from were those goofy yellow humanoid Pac-Man-looking things. Now, thanks to Katrina Parrott, creator of iDiversicons, an app with racially and ethnically diverse emoji, you can tag your sentence with a face that actually looks like you.
The beginning of iDiversicons came when Parrott’s daughter Katy, a UT Austin student, asked a simple question: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have emoticons that look like the person sending them?” And so, Parrott, with no developer experience, set out with an illustrator to create new faces for the digital world.
“It was precisely the kind of ‘a-ha!’ moment that leads to an incredible, game-changing idea,” Parrot says. “So immediately we — Katy Parrott and mom Katrina Parrott — got to work and came up with a powerful answer to Katy’s question: iDiversicons, the new set of emoticons that show the world how you really feel.”
Now, and thanks to help from a Kickstarter campaign that funded the entire project there are now more than 900 iDiversicon emoji available through the app available for download in the App Store or Google Play Store.
“Our biggest challenge in development was the limitations associated with the Unicode standard,” Parrot adds. “iDiversicons allows the user to text and email images through a simple copy-and-paste process.”
Emoji is a Japanese word meaning “picture letter” and they have become a part of our daily digital communication. To give you a visual, check out this emoji tracker for Twitter, which counts up all of the emoji being used on Twitter in real-time in a mind-blowing, light-flashing billboard. A word of warning: the page might induce a seizure.
In the meantime, Parrott continues to create ever more diverse emoji all the time, like the Nelson Mandela face she created to commemorate his birthday. She also takes requests, which is pretty cool. Is there a new emoticon would you like to see? Let us know and we can pass the idea along.
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