From hijabs to pretzels – what makes an emoji?

The ever-expanding index of images has elevated the way we communicate. But, behind the heart eyes and dancing ladies, it takes a lot to bring them to life

In recent years, sending each other a preponderance of peaches and an avalanche of aubergines – plus a smattering of smiley faces, hearts and pizza slices along the way – has become one of the key ways we converse. Emojis have become ingrained in our lives, exploding from a quirky set of 176 pictures on Japanese mobile phones back in the 1990s to one of the main methods of communication today, peppering our missives on WhatsApp, Twitter and via text messages. Andy Murray summed up the stresses and joys of his wedding day solely in emojis in 2015, while the European commission has deployed emojis when surveying users about the future of Europe.

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