5 Emojis

Students will use analog and digital technologies including, drawing, illustration, 3D construction and digital manipulations to create an emoji.

They will research and explore the function of public visual communications and how they create meaning.


  • 5.4 investigates and responds to the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter for visual design artworks.
  • 5.5 makes informed choices to develop and extend concepts and different meanings in their visual design artworks.
  • 5.6 selects appropriate procedures and techniques to make and refine visual design artworks.
  • 5.8 uses their understanding of the function of and relationships between artist - artwork - world - audience in critical and historical interpretations of visual design artworks.


3 weeks.

Driving question

Could emojis completely replace words and text?


Students will design a series of works based on appropriated traditional typography and reinvent as an identity influenced by the study of varied subcultures.

Focus areas

  • Shape, colour, form and layout
  • Structural and subjective frames
  • Design, design world and audience.
  • Difference and Diversity
  • Work, Employment and Enterprise
  • Information and communication technology
  • Literacy.


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Students will:

  1. discuss how emojis have become part of our means of communication
  2. work through the Emoji PowerPoint (PPTX 11.23 MB) as a class, completing the exercises below:
    1. slide four - 1: Watch the video The History of Emoji (04:52) 2: Read the article Emoji - Japan's talking pictures 3: Create timeline in your visual design journal/blog detailing the evolvement of the emoji over time.
    2. Slide six - 1: Use the internet to find another company who use emojis in their advertising campaign. 2: Write a report on how effective it was.
    3. slide seven - 1: What are some examples of culture specific emojis? 2: Why are they important? 3: How are emojis culturally sensitive to varying skin colours and beliefs? 4: Could this be improved?
  3. write a TEEEC paragraph on each question below in their visual design journal/blog. The frames infographic can provide extra assistance if needed:
    1. structural frame - how do emojis look?
    2. subjective frame - what do emojis represent?
    3. cultural frame - how have emojis developed into their present form?
    4. post-modern frame - how have emojis entered our cultural landscape? For example, film.
  4. Watch The Emoji Movie - official trailer (02:38).

You'll need:

  • visual design journal
  • computer and printer
  • coloured pencils or paints
  • phone or digital camera
  • clay.

Students will:

  • in pairs, work through the emoji menu on their phone and select
    • their favourite
    • one they don't understand
    • their least favourite.
  • create a bank of emojis in their visual design journal by drawing each one
  • ask every student in the class to pick their top three designs as well as their least favourite emoji
  • using a computer, graph the results
  • present to the class the results of the study, using visual enhancements from your visual design journal.

Students will:

  • take photos of a classmates partner using different expressions such as, happy, sad, angry, upset, bashful, embarrassed etc.
  • print them out
  • overlay tracing paper on them and outline the facial features
  • create their own emojis using the facial features from the photographs of their friends
  • give each emoji a name
  • upload them into their blog and outline the design process.

Students will:

  • using a slab of clay, sculpt a 10cm x 10cm 3D version of their favourite personalized emoji
  • glaze or paint if using air drying clay
  • photograph their finished emoji in a variety of positions and scenarios around the school
  • upload the photographs and write a story to accompany them in their blog.

Students will:

  • design a series of posters defining each genre of literacy below
    • animal fiction
    • autobiography, biography, memoir (one poster)
    • fantasy
    • graphic novels
    • greek mythology
    • historical fiction
    • informational
    • mystery
    • poetry
    • realistic fiction
    • science fiction
    • science fiction
    • sports fiction
    • traditional literature.
  • each poster must have the literacy genre, a definition and the relevant emojis from the emoji family
  • students will describe the design process and use of the emojis in their visual design journal or blog.

Students will:

  • in groups, create a short story using only traditional emojis, about an event that happened either on the way to or from school
  • swap their stories with another group
  • stand at the front of the classroom, and perform their scenarios in their groups (in an improvisation style)
  • the group that wrote the story being performed, students will need to say whether they interpreted the story correctly, or incorrectly
  • reflect in their visual design journal or blog on how effective they were at interpreting the story from the emoji, and how it could've been improved.

Students will complete a digital blog/visual design journal documenting the ideas and processes used throughout this sequence. This can be completed through one-note, Class Notebook or Google classroom.

The blog or visual design journal should contain:

  • the process and technical skills used in practical classes
  • personal reflections about the practical activities
  • information gained through investigations or class discussions
  • answers to questions asked in class
  • a glossary of new words and terminology with graphic examples
  • and thoughts of the different techniques and types explored.



Teachers are encouraged to provide students with acceleration activities if required.

Students could:

Life skills


  • LS 1 experiences a variety of visual design procedures to make visual design artworks
  • LS 4 explores ways in which experiences of the world can be communicated in visual design artworks
  • LS 6 makes a variety of visual design artworks that reflect experiences, responses or a point of view
  • LS 7 explores a variety of subject matter that can be represented in visual design artworks

Students could:

  • create a list of their favourite emojis in their visual design journal/blog
  • allocate a feeling to each of their favourite emojis such as sad, happy, etc
  • draw their own emoji and give it a name
  • create a large poster by cutting out and printing, and gluing their favourite emojis onto a piece of cardboard.


Formative assessment can be used to determine learning progress throughout the lesson sequences. Teachers should informally assess a student's level of understanding and adapt accordingly.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Visual Design 7–10 Syllabus (2004) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.

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