1997 – Nicolas Loufrani creates the first 3D Smiley and starts exploring different creative variations of it.
1997 – Smiley appears on the screen of a cell phone for the first time, licensed by The Smiley Company to Alcatel. [See 1997 Alcatel file in WORLD EMOJI DAY Toolkit *
1999 – Nicolas creates 471 Smileys in categories such as emotions, weather, nations, flags, parodies, sports etc. [See US copyright office registration file and 1999 Smiley Dictionary file in WORLD EMOJI DAY Toolkit]*
1999 - Shigetaka Kurita of NTT Docamo creates his emojis. However, these original designs bare little resemblance to the modern emoji phenomenon, which is inspired by Smileys and the work of Nicolas Loufrani [Please see 1999 Shigetaka Kurita file in WORLD EMOJI DAY Toolkit]*
2001 – Nicolas launches The Official Smiley Dictionary which announces "The birth of a universal language". The Dictionary contains 393 Smileys with categories such as animals, colours, countries, celebrations, flags, food, fun, occupations, moods, celebrities, planets and moods. The Smiley Dictionary also held an extensive directory of 640 ascii emotions [See 2001 Birth of Universal Language file file in WORLD EMOJI DAY Toolkit, 2001 Dico Smiley, the first published book of Smileys, and original Smiley Dictionary website here]*
2003 – The Smiley Dictionary is renamed SmileyWorld and includes 887 Smileys including new categories such as celebration, celebrities, clothes, fancy, flags, flowers, food, in action, instruments, mood expressions, mood hands, nations, nature, numbers, objects, occupations, religion, science, signs, sports, transportation, weather, zodiac. The Dictionary is published for the first time as a book and the Smiley is licensed to leading phone manufacturers Motorola and Nokia. [See 2003 SmileyWorld file file in WORLD EMOJI DAY Toolkit, 2001 Motorola file, 2002 Nokia file and and original SmileyWorld website here]*
2007 – Apple launches its first iPhone and makes emoji icons available only to Japanese users – emoji is a Japanese word for pictogram. Emoji reproduce the concept of icons sorted by categories and have a set of emotions inspired by Smileys but with a very different art direction.
2010 onwards – Some emoji character sets are incorporated into Unicode, a standard system for indexing characters, which has allowed them to be used outside Japan and to be standardised across different operating systems.
2017 – Sony Pictures releases The Emoji Movie globally, with box office revenue of nearly $220 million made it one of the years major movie successes. Nicolas Loufrani receives widespread international media interest for his role in the creation of emojis. [see Nicolas Loufrani SELECTED PRESS COVERAGE 2017 in WORLD EMOJI DAY tool kit]
Emoji in 2018 – Today there are 2,823 emojis, used by billions of people everyday thanks to Unicode. Emoji are distinct from the original Smileys but the explosion has fulfilled Nicolas Loufrani's vision to create a digital universal language, understood by everyone.
Smiley in 2018 – The Smiley brand is active in 14 industries, such as fashion, food, toys and publishing. The Smiley Company works with some of the world's largest retailers and most iconic brands to spread fun and happiness through creative products and engaging marketing activities. With sales of $420 million USD in 2017, Smiley is part of the License! Top 100 Global Licensors edition. [See 2017 Brand Book, Brand Collaborations, Advertising & Promotions and Retail Collaborations files in Smiley toolkit]*
To view how Smiley has evolved their icon styles over 20 years please view “Icons styles today” file in Smiley Toolkit