Excercise 5

GOOGLE'S NEW EMOJI

THE BLOBS FIRST appeared in the spring of 2013. They were roundly amorphous, like cookie dough plopped onto a baking sheet. Their faces, a rainbow of emotions, had mouths that turned up and down in imprecise dashes. For years, the blobs sat on the keyboards of Android phones and Google Hangouts as the goofy counterparts to Apple's more lifelike emoji. And in that time, they amassed both haters and loyal acolytes. Now, though, that debate is over. As part of its Android Oreo update, Google replaced the blob with symmetrical circles and more human-like figures. The update marks the biggest change Google’s made to its emoji in years. But it didn’t happen overnight. Emoji—like so many of the objects they’re designed to represent—evolve. Transforming the blob’s shape, color, and meaning, was a lengthy process that started, arguably, the moment Google’s blob emoji was born.

“I had a Japanese code name for them: ponyon,” says Satoe Haile, a designer at Google who, along with the contracted Japanese design firm IC4, helped conceptualize the blob. Ponyon roughly translates to the “sound of something bouncing,” which aptly described the emoji’s jubilant, non-human form. The designers intentionally illustrated the blobs so they would be lighthearted and expressive, even when their faces were grumpy or sad. “We wanted to create something cute,” Haile says.

Emoji