Emoji Redesign Project offers flat design for your favorite pictograms.

Emojis Were Created in the 1990s. These Designers Want to Help Them Grow Up.

Emojis Were Created in the 1990s. These Designers Want to Help Them Grow Up.

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Jan. 12 2016 12:12 PM

Is It Time for an Emoji Redesign?

160112_EYE_EmojisGoFlat2

Courtesy of Emoji Redesign Project

Emoji might be fast becoming America’s most popular second language, but not everybody is a fan of these supposedly adorable pictograms. The prevailing design aesthetic of emojis—which were originally developed as communications devices for teenagers in the late 1990s in Japan, where they are no longer considered cool—has only become more hokey and juvenile since Western designers translated them for smartphones. While the range of icons has continued to expand, the design language suffers from a case of arrested development that can make them embarrassing for grown-ups to use.

160112_EYE_EmojisGoFlat1

Courtesy of Emoji Redesign Project

Maybe this is why you love them. But for those whose barrier to embracing the language of emoji is their corny aesthetic, Italian art director Vittorio Perotti and illustrator Giulia Zoavo have decided to offer a redesign.

160112_EYE_EmojisGoFlat5

Courtesy of Emoji Redesign Project

For their ongoing Emoji Redesign Project, Perotti and Zoavo have reimagined 845 emojis with a flat, streamlined design that respects original pixels and grids, and uses a limited palette of 90 colors.

160112_EYE_EmojisGoFlat4

Courtesy of Emoji Redesign Project

The designers write in a press release that they wanted to maintain the “meaning and soul” of emojis while giving them a “contemporary style” that is “fresh, flat and simple.”

160112_EYE_EmojisGoFlat3

Courtesy of Emoji Redesign Project

Their goal? "To see [these] emojis on every phone.”

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.