We overuse emoji in our daily communication, but did you know that it has been ten years since the launch of the first Apple emoji. On the anniversary, a former Apple intern shared her journey about working on ‘emoji‘ which was an unknown concept back in 2008, and then learning the craftsmanship under her mentor to develop some of the most popular emoji today.
Angela Guzman, who is now a design manager at Google, joined Apple in the summer of 2008, after finishing her graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design. When she was being handled her first assignment, she did not know what an emoji was. For the next three months, she was assigned her mentor, Raymond, who taught her about not only design elements and iconography, but also about humility and craftsmanship.
Some of the tremendously popular emoji which Guzman and Raymond designed include the face with tears of joy, pile of poo, heart, and party emoji. However, the first emoji Guzman designed was the engagement ring, which she explains took the whole day to complete. In her Medium blog, titled “The Making of Apple’s Emoji: How designing these tiny icons changed my life”, she explains that she chose that particular emoji because it had challenging textures like metal and a faceted gem, which were tricky to render for a beginner.
Guzman also recounts her review with Steve Jobs before the first set of emoji were approved. She writes, “If Steve said it was good to go, I’d say lesson in craftsmanship, check.”
Guzman’s journey from being an intern to working on the first set of Apple emoji have paved way for the newer versions and types of emoji today. With the iPhone X, Apple introduced the Animoji feature, which blends animated icons with emoji. The feature is now slowly gaining popularity and it won’t be long before it becomes mainstream.
For designers, Guzman advises, “I would suggest to any designer looking for their reason to get up in the morning to find their humble mentor, or be one, and get on the road to friendship. Because magic happens when design leads to friendship, and that friendship leads back to design.”
Image courtesy: Angela Guzman/Medium