The history of the emoji is a complex one. First, emojis were updated to be more race and LGBT friendly, and even include not-so-friendly hand gestures. Then celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Eva Longoria came out with their own sets of emojis. Now Egypt is jumping on the bandwagon with the release of Egymoji.
The keyboard extension, developed by AUC Graphic Design major, Yasmine Nagui, is chock-full of culturally relevant emojis - there’s a tuktuk and microbus, a fool cart and even a wagon full of watermelons.
Nagui developed the app as part of her Bachelors thesis, citing Egypt's “incredible visual street culture, language, and online social media presence,” as her inspiration. Egymoji was released Saturday night, but has already proved a hit with 400 searches and over 100 downloads in just two day.
“It definitely got more attention than I had expected,” says Nagui. “This was my graduation project and I had hoped it would reach the circle of people around me like my friends and colleagues, but I definitely did not expect it to get this kind of popularity. I am incredibly grateful it did.”
“I intend to add a lot more Egymojis to try and cover even more elements from the daily Egyptian visual culture,” says Nagui.
The keyboard extension is currently only available on the app store, but Nagui is working on an Android version to be released soon.
By Salma Thanatos Rizk