From the days of using “emoticons” to the more detailed emojis we have today, there has never been a better time to express yourself through text. As emojis continue to evolve to include as many expressions, skin colors, cultures, places, animals and things as possible, there’s another aspect that’s constantly being improved upon as well: their design.
Android in particular has been through a few emoji redesigns at this point, with Android O marking the next major change by adding gradients, darker outlines, round faces and eyebrows, among other things.
The change is interesting. It seems to go against the grain of material design with outlines and gradients, and almost looks retro in regards to what you’d expect to see in a smartphone design today. The circular faces fall in line with what most other emoji face designs look like. I was honestly not fond of blobs at first, but I’ve since grown used to them. I even prefer many of them compared to emojis made by other companies (especially Samsung’s, which I am not fond of at all – if you ask me, those are what really need a redesign).
They don’t look particularly awful in my opinion, but I don’t think they’re inherently great for small screen use. The flat design of Android’s current emojis make it easier for me to distinguish features, which is another reason why I prefer them.
The good news is that with Android, you have options when it comes to this type of thing. As I mentioned, I loathe Samsung’s emojis, but it isn’t often that I have to see them as I use Textra as my main messaging app and have switched my emojis to the Android system set. I could also choose iOS, Twitter, or Emoji One. Many alternative messaging apps have this option. If you’re into rooting, you can change your entire system’s emoji set if you wanted. The only problem with both of these solutions, of course, is that you can’t control what emojis everybody else receives, but that’s only a problem when emojis that are meant to be the same differ so much that they look like completely different emotions. For example, the "grimace" emoji is sometimes seen as an actual grimace, a cheesy grin, or in Samsung's case (second to last) it's... mostly just unnatural.
There’s been some misunderstandings regarding an alleged “feature” of Android O. It was rumored that users would be able to change their own fonts without root – and if they could change their own fonts, would it be possible to change system emoji as well? Unfortunately, the feature has been debunked as a developer option for their apps, not a user option for their phones. Although font and emoji switching doesn't appear to be imminent, it would be cool if that came to fruition on the Android platform at some point. Samsung lets you change fonts to an extent, but only a few fonts are offered and most are pretty standard, except for Choco Cooky, which is like the Comic Sans of the smartphone world.
Readers, what are your thoughts on the new emojis? Love 'em or hate 'em? Should Android allow for the free switching between fonts and emoji styles? Let us know in the comments below!