Finland became the first country in the world to release "official" government emojis in December 2015. A new and final set of emojis were announced in the beginning of June, making the total number 62, all of them describing Finnish emotions, words, customs and nature.
Emojis, originally from Japan, is a language based on symbols that are widely used in mobile communications and social media. They usually describe emotions, compressing information into a small space. In 2015 the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland came up with an idea to use emojis for their Christmas Calendar on the ThisisFINLAND website, as this would work better on mobile devices and might take in younger public. So together with Art Director Bruno Leo Ribeiro the Ministry designed the first set of winter emojis, which became a global hit. This motived them to make a set of summer emojis in May 2016, and another two rounds this year.
So what kind of emojis are there? Of course there are the typical symbols of Finland like sauna, Nokia, Santa Claus and Aurora Borealis. Others include "headbanger" since there are more heavy metal bands in Finland per capita than anywhere else in the world; "baby in a box" showing the Finnish innovation of giving maternity packages to all families expecting babies; "black gold" the 'salmiakki' liquorice that Finns love but the rest of the world hate; "bus stop" which shows Finns lined up with lots of space in between - Finns tend to respect the privacy and personal space of others, and expect the same in return.
"Tom of Finland" is another topical emoji. Artist Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland, depicted homoerotic drawings that might have been controversial in the years past, but are now a symbol of tolerance, respect and sexual freedom. The law accepting same sex marriages came into force in Finland this March 2017, and a biographic film about Tom of Finland recently premiered in the country.
"The emojis were released with the wish to convey that Finland is not only functional but also fun, as well as digitally savvy,” says Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of awards, suggestions for cooperation, including commercial use of the emojis, and by all the ideas sent to us." With the great success abroad, the Finland emoji collection has reached approximately 240 million people through traditional and social media.
Finland emoji selection can be downloaded HERE.