We often don’t think about it, but we hardly get any text messages without them: emoji 🤨. It’s a fascinating phenomenon, because emoji are more than just funny, angry or sad faces. They have become indispensable worldwide and have revolutionized our communication.

Emoji expert Lilian Stolk explains this fastest growing (visual) language ever. For her book she has spoken with all the important figures from the emoji world: from the Japanse creator Shigetaka Kurita to the director of Unicode (which determines which symbols we can communicate with), and from computer scientists to sticker designers who make their living with self designed emoji sets.

In her book Het zonderwoorden-boek (only in Dutch) Stolk shows how this originally Japanese invention became commonplace around the world, what effect emoji have on our emotions and why (today) we are so focused on images.

You can find more information or order the book via the website of her publisher: Maven Publishing.

💡 You can still contribute to the research, by filling in this online survey.💡

Illustration from Het Zonderwoorden-boek: Harvey Ball designing the smiley in 1963.

Shigetaka Kurita, inventor of emoji, August 2016

Naotomo Watanabe, sticker manager LINE, August 2016