What would texting be without the “eggplant” emoji? Yesterday, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced it’s acquisition of the original 176 emojis for the permanent collection. Designed by Shigetaka Kurita in 1999 for cell phones and pagers, the original set features familiar categories such as weather, food, sporting and astrological signs but in simple, 12 pixel by 12 pixel glyphs in a six color palette: red, orange, lilac, grass green, royal blue and black.
According to Wired, the original emojis were “big in Japan” and were used for marketing purposes to indicate points of interest including ATMs, banks, bars (martini glass) and restaurants (hamburger). Other food and drink-related emojis from the original set include the beer mug, tea cup and fork & knife. In 2010, emojis gained an international following when they appeared in Unicode and a year later, Apple added them to their iOS messaging keyboard.
In December, MoMA will announce the acquisition to the public by displaying the emoji set as wallpaper or silkscreens in the museum lobby and next week Paul Galloway, an Architecture & Design Collection Specialist from the museum, will present to the fans at the first Emojicon in San Francisco.