Hot air balloon with a smile
© Leonsbox/Getty Images Plu
Smile! It's World Emoji Day
Most versions of the calendar emoji (📆) use the date 17 July - ever wondered why? It's because 17 July 2000 is the date that Apple first rolled out its iCal app (the icon for which inspired the iPhone calendar emoji). Which is a good reminder that today is World Emoji Day.
If you still type :-D instead of 😀 to express joy, you're a bit old-school, but maybe less so than you think. Even Harvey Ball, who created the iconic yellow ‘smiley’ design (a prototype for 🙂) way back in 1963, was late to the emoji party. A clay pot discovered in Turkey bears the oldest known cartoon of a smiling face, which dates back about 4,000 years. These days, emoji are a virtual second language for the whole world under the Unicode Standard for text encoding, which ensures that text characters from A to Z to Æ to ‽ display similarly across communication platforms and languages.
The underlying code is overseen by the Unicode Consortium but anyone, anywhere can make a case to create an emoji. So if you've got an idea for a 🔥 new one, get over to unicode.org and fill out a proposal.