Museum buys first emoji collection from 1999

Museum buys first emoji collection from 1999

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on Wednesday acquired the very first collection of 176 emojis from 1999 for its permanent collection.

Created by Japanese developer Shigetaka Kurita for mobile communications company NTT DOCOMO, each original emoji was designed on a 12×12 pixel grid, according to Paul Galloway, MoMA’s architecture and design specialist.

In a Medium post, Galloway noted how emojis began as a way to enhance communication on the earliest cell phones, which were simply designed and lacking in imagery.

“Shigetaka Kurita, who was a member of the i-mode development team, proposed a better way to incorporate images in the limited visual space available on cell phone screens,” Galloway wrote. “Released in 1999, Kurita’s 176 emoji (picture characters) were instantly successful and copied by rival companies in Japan,” he added. Read more 


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