the history of emoticons

In 1997, the world was in the midst of a technological revolution. Text messaging and email were moving to the forefront of communication and people were using expressive emotions made from punctuation marks (ascii emoticons). Hundreds of these had been created as an art form, but only :) and :( were really understandable and being used. It was then that Nicolas Loufrani (Smiley CEO) started experimenting with Smileys to create animated faces that corresponded to the emoticons made from plain punctuation marks. They became enhanced for more interactive use in digital, creating the world’s first graphical emoticons or emojis as they have now become affectionately known.

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    Emoticons are published in an American magazine

    Emoticons are published in American satirical magazine Puck in 1881.

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    Emoticon masterclass in Popular Mechanics Magazine

    Journalist Paul Hadley showcases how to draw on a typewriter in an article titled Keyboard Art in 1948.

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    Mad magazine

    In 1962 MAD Magazine publishes an article featuring typewriter-generated artwork "Typewri-toons.”  

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    The First Smiley emoticon

    Scott Fahlman is credited with creating the first Ascii emoticon used for internet communications and set the rules for their usage, which he thought would help people on a message board at Carnegie Mellon on September 19th, 1982 to distinguish serious posts from jokes. 

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    Emoticons are born

    In 1997, Nicolas Loufrani starts to create icons based on Smiley to replace 'text emoticons' made solely of punctuation marks and is responsible for creating the world’s first graphical emoticons and 3D Smileys. From these Loufrani published an online dictionary of emoticons which translated against the pre existing emoticons made of punctuation marks.

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    Emoticons go mobile

    In 2000 Smiley makes its emoticon directory available for download on cellular phones and launches the first email service offering over 1000s of emoticons. The Japanese start using the word emoji, which is their translation for emoticon.

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    Emoticons the fastest growing language

    By 2015 billions of emoticons are being sent daily across a variety of mobile devices and social media platforms. Emoticon becomes the fastest growing and most widely used language on earth and people start referring to them with their Japanese translation: emoji.

Browse emoticons

Welcome to the directory of Smiley emoticons. As you can see, we have loads of great emoticons to choose from. You’ll find an incredible selection of familiar Smiley faces, as well as thousands of Smileys you might never have seen before, that are all available to you for FREE.

Now you can easily 'Express Yourself' to your friends when you are happy, sad, in love, grumpy (or experiencing just about any emotion) and share on Facebook, Instagram, via email, or any instant messaging app. To use our amazing icons, just choose the emoticon that best suits your mood, and for your mobile phones save it directly to your phone to send, or for desktop, drag and drop directly into your Facebook message and it will be ready go!

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Friends

Clapping

Delighted

Smiley Cooper

Saudi Arabia

Muddled

Crazy

Colombia

Jaw Drop

Heart

Christmas Candle

Ecuador

Wallpapers

Decorate your desktop or smartphone with a variety of exciting, positive and happy wallpapers from Smiley by simply drag and dropping them onto your desktop or saving and sending them from your phone!


Happiness

Icon of the day

Seasonal

Style Tribes

Express yourself

national flag

Smiley masterclass

Ever wondered how we created emoticons? Here’s your chance to enjoy an exclusive photoshop masterclass from the team at Smiley in how you can create your very own Smileys :-)


 

GAMES

 

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Emoticon stories

Read the latest news stories about emoticons from around the world.


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