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I've always been fascinated by Emojis for two reasons.

First, the cute Unicode glyphs are technically interesting. When I read about the nitty-gritty details of code points and Unicode planes, I'm always surprised that there's more to discover on how thing's work.

But secondly, the globally used symbols carry a strong cultural component. Think of it; Emojis are used globally by millions of people. And people are different. One Emoji can mean other things depending on the person looking at it.

The perceived meaning depends on the person's background and situation. Where are they from? How old are they? What device do they use?

One example is the "Increasing Chart" Emoji. I never noticed that the chart shows an upwards trending line that's confusingly displayed in red.

Table showing the "Chart increasing emoji" rendered across vendors. The majority of symbols is rendered with a red line.

So why's that?

The reason is pretty simple: Emojis originated in Japan, and in Asian countries red is perceived as something good and green as something bad. The colors' meanings are flipped! 🤯

And now that we all use Emojis daily, we have to stick with the initial design to keep backwards compatibility. That's so fascinating!

If you want to learn more about this topic, check out the article on Emojipedia.

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About the author

Stefan standing in the park in front of a green background

Frontend nerd with over ten years of experience, "Today I Learned" blogger, conference speaker, Tiny helpers maintainer, and DevRel at Checkly.