Former Apple intern tells the story of how she and her mentor created the first iOS emoji

Angela Guzman was an intern at Apple back in 2008. There she worked side-by-side with her mentor to create Apple’s first 500 emoji characters that were coming to the iPhone then.

The full story is totally worth a read over on Medium where Angela shares the story to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her internship, but if you prefer the cliff notes version, we’ve got you covered.

In 2008, Angela was a graphic design student out of Rhode Island School of Design when she landed the elusive Apple internship.

She was quickly handed a new project and straight up asked if she had any idea what an emoji was. This foreign word was still not popularized here in the US, though Angela quickly learned.

She and her mentor Raymond spent a lot of time agonizing over each and every detail in the emoji from the grain in the wood, to the veins of the leaves.

Even as an intern, her work was getting used and had to be approved by Steve Jobs personally before it was approved to be included in the iPhone.

I tried really hard to capture all this in every pixel, zooming in and zooming out, because every detail mattered.

There are also some nice backstories to some emoji’s we haven’t heard before. Like the infamous poop emoji being reused as the top of the ice cream cone.

If Steve said it was good to go, I’d say lesson in craftsmanship, check.

While at first Angela was only able to get out maybe a single emoji a day, soon she had picked up steam and was pumping out 2-3 a day.

Again, it really is a worthwhile read if you are into that sort of thing, and it gives you a bit of appreciation for the time and effort that goes into designing each of the emojis we use each day.

Look for some new emoji, coming later this year.

Image: Angela Guzman