Culture

Did You Know: A Colombian Immigrant Helped Create Your Favorite Emojis For The U.S.

Technology has made so much impact in the world we live in. For example, the emoji is perhaps one of the most abundantly used creations of the past decade. From emails to texts to DMs, chances are you use emojis regularly in your everyday personal and private lives. Though they’re such a big influence on the modern world, we’ve never really wondered who created the humble emoji.

That is, until today.

Designer Angela Guzman recently sat down with NPR’s Maria Hinojosa to talk about her hand in the creation of emojis.

Twitter / @agzmn

Though she has made such a substantial mark on our culture, Guzman came from modest beginnings. She was born in Colombia but moved to Florida as a child. In the segment of “How I Made It,” Guzman explained the difficulty she had communicating while learning English as a child.

“When I moved from Bogatá to Miami, I did not speak a word of English,” she explained. “I remember entering my classroom full of kids and not being able to connect with anyone.”

Though this was difficult and isolating, Guzman used her natural talent to overcome.

Twitter / @amel_benmann

“What I ended up doing was actually relying on my drawings skills that I had developed before moving. And kind of communicating with my teachers and my classmates through pictures.”

This struggle would leave a big impression on Guzman. Of the experience, she says:

“I noticed immediately the power that an image can have on someone even though you don’t speak the same language.”

In the podcast, Guzman says that this experience is what encouraged her to pursue a career in graphic design.

Twitter / @agzmn

In 2008, while looking for internship opportunities, the Latina decided to apply with Apple, Inc. At the end of her internship, Guzman was hired by the company. However, one of her first projects was a daunting one.

She was assigned to help convert and redesign nearly 500 of the original Japanese emojis. The goal was to create images that would be more appealing and better customized to Western audiences.

Though Guzman’s experience made her a great asset for this project, there was still one problem: she had never heard of an emoji until then.

Twitter / @CNBC

“At the time, the word emoji was not super known,” she explained. “It’s a Japanese term and so I didn’t actually know what the word meant.”

When it was explained to her that the icons were meant to express feelings and emotions, Guzman totally understood. Even though the project was a large one with many entries, Guzman was thrilled to get to designing.

When it came time to start, Guzman chose to first draw an emoji that she felt an instant connection with.

Twitter / @IvelisseArroyo

“That’s why I started with the engagement ring,” Guzman confesses.

As an undergraduate, the designer had studied industrial design. She felt comfortable rendering metals because of this background. However, she felt more than a bit challenged when it came to the diamond.

Guzman was also inspired by real life items. As she explains in the podcast episode, she would visit the grocery store and examine fruit before rendering. The textures and details, she says, are what give the emojis their unique aesthetic.

In all, Guzman believes she and her mentor, Raymond Sepulveda, have left their personalities on the emojis they created.

Twitter / @unosyzeros

“For example, when [Raymond] made the happy poop swirl,” Guzman describes. “Pretty soon he created the icecream cone and plopped the swirl — the happy poop — into the cone.”

Creative rendering aside, it’s no doubt that this Colombiana’s work has made a cultural impact. Emojis are now used in phone games, sold as merchandise, have their own movie and have become an entire language of their own.

So, next time you send that eggplant emoji, spare a second to acknowledge the cultural significance of Angela Guzman and her emojis.

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TikTok Is Freaking Out After Realizing That The Apple Logo On Your iPhone Is An Extra Button

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TikTok Is Freaking Out After Realizing That The Apple Logo On Your iPhone Is An Extra Button

Thanks to the good nerds of TikTok, many are discovering there’s a tool hidden in plain sight: the Apple logo on the back of the phone. Yep, it can double as a tool/sensor/button. What the what?!

TikToker Brit Brown posted the iPhone hack back in October of 2020 but it’s making its rounds recently. The video shows users how to program their apple to perform functions like taking a screenshot, opening a particular app, or locking your screen. And it’s not just the Apple logo. Per How to Geek, these shortcuts can be launched by tapping anywhere on the back of your iPhone.

How did we not notice this before? We’re on our phones quite literally all day long.

TikTok reveals the Apple logo on your iPhone is a special button.

So, with iOS 14 software enabled, that shiny Apple logo you’ve been covering up with a case is actually a hidden button that you can program to perform at least 30 different tasks. You can customize your iPhone settings to turn the Apple logo into a tool for taking screenshots, scrolling through Instagram, magnifying pictures, changing your phone’s volume, activating Siri, and more. 

The feature is available to iPhone users with iOS 14 software enabled, and includes an iPhone setting called “Back Tap” that transforms the entire back of your phone into a touch-sensitive tool. This means that, phone case or no phone case, double or triple tapping the back of your device will allow you to access multiple pre-programmed shortcuts. You can even set the “button” as a shortcut to automatically open TikTok, open Netflix, check the time, send a photo text, or customize your own shortcut. 

So what do you have to do to get that extra button?

Remember, it’s a double tap, so if your tech-averse parent is having trouble making this hack work, that might be why. Per How to Geek, this works on iPhone 8s or higher. 

Unfortunately, none of the hacks on here or on TikTok address a potential issue with adding a function to the back of an iPhone: Most people keep their phones in a case. And some of those cases might affect this feature’s functionality. Now, if the company could make a product that didn’t shatter into a million pieces when dropped, that would truly be a feature we could use.

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Interracial Couples Are Officially Getting Emoji Representation

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Interracial Couples Are Officially Getting Emoji Representation

Representation matters.

When it comes to interracial couples, this is certainly true. In 2017, The New York Times posed the question “where are all of the racial couples?” in an article about the representation of mixed-race couples on screen. The pieces pointed out that for many years, the entertainment industry “forbid depictions of interracial relationships. From 1930 until the late 1960s, the Motion Picture Production Code banned ‘vulgarity and suggestiveness’ so that ‘good taste may be emphasized.'” The piece put a bold underline under the fact that decades have passed since these codes were dismantled. In fact, the same year of the article’s release, the Pew Research Center revealed that the number rose to 10 percent, including 11 million interracial marriages in total.

These statistics oddly haven’t always extended to even our most innovative forms: texting to name just one. Up until recently, texters weren’t able to express their mix-raced love via iPhones.

Now thanks to a new update, they are!

New updates to Apple‘s iOS 14.5 are bringing interracial couples to your texts this Spring.

New couple emojis with skin variant combinations.nbsp
Emojipedia

Apple is working to make our texting experience more inclusive and representative for all phone users. In a recent update from Unicode, the system that produces emojis, Apple has announced that they will be unveiling new designs and new options for emojis that already exist as part of iOS 14.5.

New designs for the emojis will be more representative of people with disabilities as well.

Emojipedia

They include a person with a bird, flaming heart emoji, a healed heart, and new skin tone variants for kissing couples and couples with heart emojis. There will also be accessibility-themed emojis which include an ear with a hearing aid, a guide dog, a prosthetic leg, and a prosthetic arm.

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