Are you a fan of Emoji? The origin of the word 'Emoji' is from this Japanese word—— 絵文字[emodʑi], 絵[e] means picture, painting, and 文字[modʑi] means character. The history of emoji can be traced back to the last century. So let me show you the timeline of Emoji.

The Timeline of EMOJI


  • The yellow smiley face was born in the United States in 1963, when an insurance company hired graphic designer Harvey Ball to design an icon to help calm their employees' anxiety. However, he never applied for a trademark for this world famous smiley face and earned only $45💰 for his efforts.
  • 🖼: Wikipedia


  • Scott Elliott Fahlman, a computer scientist and professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute and Computer Science Department, who is credited with originating the first smiley emoticon “:-)”.
  • 🖼: Wikipedia


  • NTT put a heart-representing pattern [♥] on its BP machine📟. Unexpectedly, this simple emoji led NTT's market share to rise to 40%.


  • J-Phone(SoftBank), releases the SkyWalker DP-211SW mobile phone on the 1st of November 1997, to be the first phone known to contain a set of emojis as part of its typeface. And the first set of J-Phone emoji were in black and white.


  • NTT engineer Kurita Shigetaka designed about 200 12*12 pixel emoji images for the release of the Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo's integrated mobile internet service "i-mode". This is the beginning of the Emoji Global Phenomenon.


  • Some large online social media and social networking services, such as MySpace, AOL, Instant Messenger, etc., have also provided users with a variety of emoji options. You can also use some common emojis in online chat rooms🖥️.


  • Google begins to convert Japanese emoji to Unicode private-use codes.


  • Apple's emoji keyboard was first available in Japan with the release of iPhone OS version 2.2 in 2008.


  • Unicode 5.2 released. it is the first Unicode characters explicitly intended as emoji, and most of these characters come directly from emoji characters used by Japanese mobile phone carriers.
  • Google added the Gmail Labs feature "Extra emoji". Since then, you can use more than 1200 emojis from Gmail📧!


  • Emoji is now standardized by Unicode. Unicode is an information technology standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. This means the major vendors can design their own emoji appearance, emoji may look different from each platform. This is really a great step for emoji become globalize!
  • 🖼: The official site of Unicode


  • Apple officially launches their mobile operating system iOS 5, and the same version of emoji began to be used globally🗺️.


  • Apple releases iOS 6 with emojis of same-sex couples.


  • Facebook released animated "emoji" reactions to posts, you can use these emojis to make simple replies to others posts.
  • The word "emoji" is added to the Oxford Dictionaries.
  • Katy Perry releases a lyrics music video for her single🎵 "Roar", the lyrics are made of completely emojis.
  • 🖼: Youtube

  • Google finally adds legitimate emoji support to its Android OS version 4.4 KitKat by making them part of the official Google keyboard app.


  • The World Emoji Day is decided hold on July 17th each year. It's also the date that emoji [calendar📅] shown on some platform like Apple or Twitter.


  • Apple's emoji designer Angela Guzman admitted that the ice cream emoji🍦 and the poop emoji💩 are come from the same material.
  • Unicode 8.0 in 2015, the Unicode Consortium released five skin tone modifiers based on Fitzpatrick skin classification, they can provide five kinds of modification for character's skin color.
  • Emoji "😂" wins the title of "Word of the Year" 2015, it is the first time an emoji has won this top honor🏆.
  • 🖼: Oxford Word of the Year 2015 | Oxford Languages


  • In Apple iOS 10, the gun emoji changed its appearance from a realistic revolver to a water pistol to reduce the sense of threat and violence. But only Apple made this change.
  • The original emoji set created by Shigetaka Kurita, is added to the collection of Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) in New York, USA. In the same year the museum opens an installation about the evolution of emojis and their cultural impact.
  • 🖼: Photoed by John Wornn


  • Twitter adds emoji search function🔍, now you can search for specific emojis within the text of a tweet and accounts can use emoji in their usernames.
  • Sony Pictures Animation releases The Emoji Movie🎦.
  • A debate about where the different ingredients of a burger belong began on Twitter, and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google decided to fix the position of cheese on burger emoji🍔.
  • 💡: At Android 8.1 developer preview 2, the cheese is finally back on top of the patty.


  • Almost all the major vendors replaced it gun emoji to a water pistol design.
  • Emoji 11.0 is released as part of Unicode 11.0, including partying face🥳, DNA🧬, parrot🦜, kangaroo🦘 and more. At the same time, red hair🦰, bald🦲 and curly🦱 are added in too.
  • There are people think that the bagel emoji🥯 is no filling and doesn't look appetizing. As with Google and their burger-emoji, that caused uproar last year, in beta 4 of iOS 12, Apple added cream filling in its bagel design.


  • The world premiere of Picture Character: An Emoji Documentary is held at the Tribeca Film Festival, New York, on April 28th. This film "charts the evolution of emoji and investigates what they may reveal about our increasingly technological world."


  • Facebook provides animated "emoji" reactions to posts, and in 2020, they added animated emoji shows a heart being hugged called [care], you can use this emoji to make simple replies to others posts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Apple introduces their new operating system iOS 14, and they are announced adding an emoji search🔍 for the keyboard.
  • Unicode announced that a new set of emoji will be released in 2021 billed as Emoji 13.1, additions include [heart on fire❤‍🔥], [mending heart❤‍🩹], [face in clouds😶‍🌫️], [woman: beard🧔‍♀️], and new mixed skin tone options for couples.


  • JoyPixels 6.5, iOS 14.5, Twemoji 13.1… These emoji set which contain emoji 13.1 officially appeared on our devices.


With the speedy development of Internet technology and communicate method, we are enable to get in touch with any people all over the world. And we not only communicate with others purely in text, but also use some images or Emoji. Especially emoji, it can add emotional nuance to otherwise flat text in an easy way.

Emoji is now used by about 3 billion people. From Global Language Monitor's Word Of The Year [❤] in 2014, to Oxford Word of the Year 2015 [😂], there is no doute that emoji has become a hallmark of the way people communicate, even can be called an unique "Global Language".

There will be more and more emoji in the future, and we will keep paying attention to provide you with the latest emoji information.

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