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Emily Groves

MA work

Emoji Cafe

The principle of linguistic relativity suggests that the language we speak affects the way we think. What if we all communicated with just one universal language? Would streamlining our communication homogenise our minds and culture as well?

Emojis are a pictorial language used by millions of people around the world. But the icons in this limited set have both universal and subjective meanings. Therefore, to this vast audience, emojis vary between being easy and impossible to understand.

Emoji Cafe imagines a world and culture limited to the palette of emoji vocabulary, where the objects and writing are dictated only by existing emojis. It is a world of bright colours, homogeneity and ambiguity. Explore the cafe to discover the objects and stories that occur within it.


  • MA Degree


    School of Communication


    MA Information Experience Design, 2015

  • I am an interdisciplinary designer and researcher with a background in social media analysis and biological anthropology. 

    I'm interested in comparing language at local and world-wide scales with a digital focus. My recent research and work has been on the cultural significance of emojis. 

  • Degrees

  • BSc Human Sciences, University College London, 2012
  • Awards

  • Prize, Battersea Park Wayfinding Award, 2014; Prize, Tate Christmas Card Award, 2015
  • Conferences

  • Semojiotics at the Semiofest, 2015