Artist Shop Spotlight: The Emoji Redesign Project

When Vittorio Perotti and Giulia Zoavo realized they felt out of touch with the current state of emojis, they took matters into their own hands. Launching the Emoji Redesign Project, the two artists logo-emojireimagined emojis as we know them with a fresh and simple take. Featuring flat designs, the collection introduces a modernized element to our most beloved icons, and now, through the Emoji Redesign Project Artist Shop, these contemporary emojis are available for all. Check out our interview with Vittorio and Giulia below, and drop in to their Artist Shop here!

Hi Vittorio and Giulia! Welcome to Artist Shops. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Hi Threadless, thank you! We are an illustrator, Giulia,  and an art director, Vittorio, based in Milan, Italy. Travels, good food, art, and meeting new people are the things that make us happy. We are curious and enthusiastic people who love to cross the borders between different disciplines. Our goal is to make projects that will make people talk.

Giulia Zoavo and Vittorio Perotti of the Emoji Redesign Project

Why is the Emoji Redesign Project important to you, and what inspired it?

Basically, it was the first big project we did together! At some point, we realized that the current emojis did no longer represent us. Massimo Vignelli used to say, “If you don’t find it, draw it yourself.” So we decided to take the challenge and and began restyling emojis, all because of our passion. Our next step is to make them downloadable (emojisgoflat.com). We would love to use our emojis in a chat conversation! :)

What types of changes and upgrades do you make to modernize today’s current emojis?

Emojis have become part of a universal language. We all use emojis to communicate emotions and feelings in ways that anyone can understand. The challenge was to redesign the current emojis, maintaining their meaning and soul, but changing their appearance to give them a contemporary style. Fresh, flat, and simple: these were the three keywords we kept in mind during our work.

Before and After: Traditional emojis vs. Emoji Redesign Project emojis

What role did shape and color play in your designs?

We worked with geometric shapes and limited colors to strongly simplify the icons. It’s amazing how many things could be told with just a few elements.

Both shape and color play strong roles in Vittorio and Giulia’s work

Flat vs. 3-D: Why do you prefer the former?

We prefer the flat for the simplicity. This is also a contemporary choice: every device we use has flat icons and a flat UI. That being said, we would love to transform our flat icons in 3D gadgets or pillows! Have you already thought about selling pillows on Threadless? :)

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Vittorio and Giulia reimagine themselves as emojis

What do you believe the ideal emoji should communicate, and how do you work to capture that through your designs?

Emojis have the power to change the meaning of a phrase. This is why an ideal emoji is simple and tells exactly what you want to say, quickly. For every icon, we tried to find the few shapes that make an object recognizable.

Why do you think your emojis are the perfect fit for a Threadless Artist Shop?

Emojis are, undoubtedly, one of the icons of our time. In the last year, we heard about them everywhere. Why don’t wear them? It’s a funny way to communicate your messages.

The Emoji Redesign Project Artist Shop
“Three Wise Monkeys” by the Emoji Redesign Project. Available for purchase here.

Do each of you have a favorite emoji?

Vittorio: The dog! Yes, I love dogs!

Giulia: The Three Wise Monkeys. They perfectly suit most of my messages. :)

What advice do you have for artists trying to reinvent the familiar?

Do a lot of research, learn from others, but try to build your own style. Always respect what you are reinventing: once upon a time, it represented the innovation.

“Face With Stuck-Out Tongue and Winking Eye” by the Emoji Redesign Project. Available for purchase here.

Any other shout-outs?

Thanks to our friends who helped us during the creation of the project, and thanks to Threadless for supporting our idea! Artist Shops is a great opportunity and we’ll keep suggesting it! Thank you.


Check out the Emoji Redesign Project Artist Shop here!

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Shawn Gauthier

Content Manager & Writer at Threadless. Into the usual stuff like words and music and internet animals.