This agency is asking Unicode to approve a 'smiling' face mask emoji

TBWA/Dublin says current mask emoji looks sad, ill and scary

Published On
Aug 24, 2020

Editor's Pick

With face masks now becoming a normal part of life in many parts of the world, is it time for a new mask emoji? Irish agency TBWA/Dublin thinks so, and it's petitioning Unicode to approve one. 

The agency points out that the current mask emoji,  was created prior to the pandemic, when "face masks were recognized by most as a sign of illness, causing unease and apprehension amongst non-face mask wearers." The face therefore has closed eyes, which "visually linked to other emojis people use to express negative emotions," and comes across as a sad or ill person, which can also be scary.

TBWA/Dublin has therefore created a "smiling" face mask emoji to be added to emoji keyboards around the world. It's asking for people's views on the new, happier-looking emoji on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #faceask, as well as petitioning Unicode. 

“When you take a close look at the current face mask emoji – it clearly represents ill-health or sickness. The eyes are squinting, and from our 100 Voices Research – people said that the emoji even appears to be wincing. This emoji has its place. It can represent sadness or sickness. But the world has changed over the past 6 months," comments Andrew Murray, director of social media and content at TBWA\Dublin.

"Wearing a mask can help to stop the spread of Covid-19. So we need to remove any negative connotations around mask wearing – and show it to be a positive thing that will help you and protect others. Kids (and some adults – myself included!) have entire conversations using only emojis – if this emoji addition can help in some small way to normalize mask wearing and make it less of a ‘scary thing’ for some people – it may even save a life."



Aug 24, 2020
Agency :
Social Media & Content Specialist :
Amy Tumelty
Creative Director :
Dillon Elliott
Director of Social Media & Content :
Andrew Murray
Art Director :
Leona Smyth
Motion Graphics Designer :
Mark Murray

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