Learning to speak emoji

It’s the form of communication made up of pictures rather than words and now, emojis are getting ready to take the halls of Olympia by storm at BLE. The Source meets the men behind the licensing programme.

It’s the fastest growing language in the UK, and I’m willing to bet there aren’t many of you out there who haven’t used one. Whether it’s a simple smiley face in a text message, a see no evil monkey on a tweet through to a more intricate message – like the one posted by Andy Murray to describe his wedding day – emojis have steadily been creeping into every part of our lives.

A fact which didn’t go unnoticed by entrepreneur and founder of The Emoji Company, Marco Hüsges, who began to trademark ‘emoji’ on a global basis two years ago.

“I already knew that emoji was about to become the language of the future,” says Marco, whose background is in the video games and digital download space. “Even two years ago, you couldn’t avoid it any more. Each of them tells an individual story. Everyone speaks emoji; it doesn’t have any boundaries.”

Emoji in body (1)

There’s hardly a territory left now where Marco hasn’t filed for a trademark, with categories as wide ranging as apparel, food, stationery, toys, luggage, music, amusement parks, video games, slot machines and gifts, to name just a few. An animated series is also in the works which will see the emojis brought to life.

“I was thinking globally when I did this,” Marco continues. “It is going to be a lifestyle brand with physical and tangible product. We’re going to make it touchable so that people can dive into the emoji world.”

A library of over 1,000 emoji icons is available to licensees and Global Merchandising Services is on board as the exclusive licensing agent in the UK and Eire. The firm is a five-time winner of Best Celebrity Brand and has been responsible for driving the One Direction merchandise machine in recent years.


“This is absolutely such a phenomenal brand,” says CEO Barry Drinkwater. “It just seems to be on everyone’s lips right now. We are introducing emoji to traditional licensees and we really think it can be everywhere. There is such a wealth and ability to express yourself with emoji. Marco recognised this way before anyone else and invested in making it right, waiting until it was the right time.”

When the brand was showcased for the first time at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in the summer, it attracted massive attention, and Barry is confident of a repeat of this at Brand Licensing Europe in October. Emoji will form a significant part of Global Merchandising Services’ stand, and potential licensees will have plenty to see thanks to the almost 100-page style guide.

“Interest is huge,” Barry confirms. “We would like to achieve a roster of solid licensees around the world, supporting each other with great design and great product.”

Marco adds: “Emoji is in our culture. It won’t disappear, those icons will always be there. With emoji, you can tell another story every day. The meanings of them aren’t going to change; it is a language which is spoken by everyone – kids, parents, grandparents. We believe this brand has evergreen international potential.”

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