A Familiar Face: Emoji Design over Time

Monday, July 22, 2019, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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It is easy to think of Emoji as being glib, existing without a history, or created without a designer. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Because they are so ubiquitous, it is important to inspect them with a critical eye — where they came from, what purpose they serve, why do they look the way they do, who made them that way, and how their design subconsciously affects our communication. From 90s mobile phones and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, to Unicode and Apple, Colin Ford will trace emoji back to their roots, and speculate on their future.

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Colin Ford is a New York-based typeface designer at Hoefler & Co. He is a graduate of the Type and Media masters program at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK) in The Hague, and of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. Since joining H&Co in 2011, he has worked on a variety of projects, including the design of Chronicle Hairline and Whitney Narrow. He has lectured and taught workshops at the Atelier National de Recherche Typographique, The Letterform Archive, The Cooper Union, and MICA. 

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.