This week I was interested in the phenomenon of designing
for unintended meanings. In particular, I’m referring to Apple’s latest three
emoji revamps. The picture above showcases the most recent version of the peach
emoji through three subsequent iOS releases.
Emojis have increasingly become an interesting game of social
Pictionary where (nearly) everyone is in on the joke. The peach emoji is
generally known as representing the rear end. The humor is thus two-fold:
turning an innocent fruit into a sexualized body part and rear ends in general.
Whether Apple’s emoji designers knew of the particular(and
unintended) meaning behind (ha!) the peach emoji or not, the redesign of the peach
emoji became significantly less rear end like. The designers might very well have
missed the hidden societal meaning behind the peach emoji and thus accidentally
redrew it to be more faithful to the actual fruit. Or perhaps they were trying
to voice their displeasure in the new meaning associated with the emoji and regain
control of their product.
Regardless, the public indignation forced Apple to
understand that they don’t control the meaning anymore. The next version of the
peach emoji was thus, less life like and more rear end like.