Emojis are everywhere these days—even printed on posters at an environmental rally.
The popular social-media symbols found their way onto protest signs (made of what isn't clear) at the recent People's Climate March in London, thanks to design firm Pentagram, which created and handed out the placards.
Each featured mini emoji poems like "[Panda Bear] … [Hour Glass] … [Skull]" because, you know, pandas are endangered. Another triad: "[Tractor] … [Tree] … [Horrified Face]" (with the tree tipped to its side), translating roughly to "deforestation is bad." It wasn't all fire and brimstone, with sunnier odes to bicycling and recycling.
They look great—clear and clever, if perhaps a touch glib given the subject matter. But as Pentagram suggests on its blog, they're certainly an effective antidote to "scrawled angst." Nobody needs another badly handwritten rant.
It's particularly nice that, unlike the proprietary emoticons (or even more complex visual systems) that brands have been conjuring of late, these are essentially all the standard emojis you might find on your iPhone. (There are some minor modifications, e.g., a red X through a blue car and the aforementioned tree alteration.) That means they're more recognizable, and at least theoretically, more tapped into the zeitgeist.
On the other hand, out of context, they might tell a different story. Text your friend a panda turning into the grim reaper out of the blue, and he or she may think you're in serious need of a hug.