How to Use Emojis in Design to Connect with Your Audience

Emojis have become integrated into the way we communicate with each other, and businesses should consider utilizing them in their marketing and design efforts.

97 Switch
97 Switch
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September 29, 2023

Digital literacy is the new and indispensable foundation for successful communication in the digital age, and emojis are fast becoming vital vocabulary. Our increasingly digital lives have altered human interaction patterns to the rhythm of electronic communication – texting, instant messaging, social networking, emailing, video conferencing – demanding a more emotions-based approach to freedom of speech that’s rooted in expression and emotional resonance. Given the power and prevalence of emojis  in our daily lives, it’s important to consider if your business should be utilizing them as well. This guide will walk you through how to use emojis in design to connect with your audience, and demystify the little yellow characters on your screen.

Gain perspective

Emojis have become a cultural currency. The meaning of each emoji is different depending on the culture interpreting them. A thumbs up is a positive sign in the US, but in other areas of the world it can be offensive. By studying the use of emojis in other cultures, you can gain a window of understanding into the way that they speak and think. This means that emojis are a great way to research your audience, and speak to each segment directly in a way that they will understand and appreciate.

Speak their language

If your audience uses emojis, you should consider using them too. In order to discern this, you need a clear idea of who your audience is. Things like their age and stage of life will give you insight to how they communicate with emojis. It’s likely that your target audience uses them everyday in conversations with friends and family because they enhance and simplify what we want to say in texting conversations. Similarly, your marketing can feel familiar and be easy to understand if you incorporate emojis.

Something to keep in mind is that the meaning of emojis is always changing. For example, the hat or “cap” emoji has taken on two meanings in recent years, and knowing the cultural significance can help you make sure that you are saying what you mean to say. People will be more likely to engage with visual elements that are familiar and fun to them, so using emojis that are popular and timely is an opportunity to speak their language. Know how your choices will be perceived by your specific audience before you use them, and you can create content that will be relatable and relevant. 

Establish trust

The proof is in the pudding, and “the pudding” in this instance is that your business understands your customers and can help them achieve their goals. You want to show them that you are listening and that you know their pain points and needs. The traditionally informal tone that emojis convey make it feel more like your brand is talking directly to your audience member, rather than to a large group of people. This connection not only helps build loyalty, but can cause increases in sales and conversions. In a space where connection is king, emojis are the keys to the kingdom.

Evoke Emotion

Happy, confused, or excited, there’s an emoji for it all. If you’re looking for an efficient way to get your message across and establish your brand's personality, emojis are a great option. They can allow your audience to connect with your brand on a new level, thanks to the emotions that are brought to mind with each cartoon character.

While some emojis convey humor, others are more serious and still others are sarcastic. Your choice of emojis can influence your audience and persuade them into feeling a certain way. For example, consider the difference between “summer’s back” with a tongue out emoji, “summer’s back” with a sun emoji, and “summer’s back” with a rolling eyes emoji. All use the same text, but each emoji used conveys very different feelings.

Quicken understanding

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words. Luckily, emojis are little pictures that live within your text, helping get your message across in fewer characters. As attention spans are shortening, finding efficient ways to communicate with your audience is key to effective marketing.

Why spend a whole post explaining your thoughts on recent industry news, when you can reshare it with a party popper and your audience would understand your excitement? Why try to explain that your brand is playful and personal when you can use emojis on your website to show rather than tell? Finding ways to make your content skimmable, but still valuable is the name of the game in today’s online space, and emojis are an ingenious tool to test it out.

Emojis unlock new potential in your marketing

Consider different ways you can use emojis in your designs and marketing, and find the method that works best for your brand's personality. By connecting with your audience on a new level, you will see the returns on your research and efforts. At 97 Switch, we have designed custom emojis for partners to use on their website and in other marketing efforts, and we love finding new ways to help businesses express who they really are. 

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