Before the more famous emojis came around, there was a first set of emojis. They were mainly small pictographs of simple symbols and the faces were not round yellow faces like ours, they were rudimentary line drawings with rectangular boxes as mouths and carets for eyes. Now, these symbols and shapes have the distinction of being modern art.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC announced on October 26 that the original 176 emojis will be a part of its permanent collection. In December, MoMA will feature the emojis in the museum’s lobby as part of the exhibit that includes other graphics and animations. In other words, your phone is now home to a little collection of modern art.
These glyphs were the first to make it into mobile communications, a decade after the emoji became an American phenomenon. Today, there are around 2,000 standardized emojis. Looking at the original emojis feels like looking at ancient history, however; upon closer inspection you may find why these emojis have come to be considered modern online communication.