Investigate a subject of your choosing, find a problem haranguing the community and respond to it in a variety of ways. The field of my research was communication, specifically text message conversation and how it might be improved.


Emoj:,conned is an interactive awareness experience that occured at the USFSP Graphic Design Class of 2018 Senior Exhibition "Respond" on April 27th 2018. The project sought to bring greater understanding about the imperfection of the modern text and how we might better improve our interactions while using these interfaces. The show featured my very own enigmatic emojis, the ability to blow your very own, real-life text bubbles, and emoji masquerade masks featuring "textisms" on the reverse side.


Read the full article on Actipedia:

"Emoj:,conned is an exploration into the murky depths of contemporary communication: the text. Despite the ability to quickly talk face to face from almost anywhere, we continue to defer to inarticulate, often pointless, "messages." The verbage used in text is so full of unique oddities, it's practically its own language. Riddled with intentionally wrong grammar, modern hieroglyphics, and its own conversational etiquette, it's no wonder we have so many issues interpreting each other's vague and lazy attempts at genuine human interaction. There has to be a solution. lol"



The main performative part of the show was the inclusion of three emoji bubble wands fashioned out of metal wire. This was usually the introductory element of the show that framed the issue of text messages being short, sweet, and easily forgotten- just like a real bubble. The reason I crafted three different emoji wands was to demonstrate that oftentimes when we send an emoji, it doesn't really matter which one it is, we're still opting out of actual words.


The silenced emoji pieces were illustrated by hand with oil pastels. I found these emojis to be very ironic given the nature of the small icons to replace written words. I filled each portrait with the same words and expressions to articulate the idea that any one of these emojis might be epitomizing the same thoughts and feelings as other emojis.


From a very early point in the formation of Emoj:,conned, I knew that I wanted to provide audiences with a physical take-away to leave Respond with. My thought process was that, amidst all of the excitement and pomp of the show, maybe people would forget some of the "lessons" provided by Emoj:,conned when they most needed to be reminded that "K." is never OK!


As silly as this project was turning out to be, it wouldn't have felt right if I didn't at least try to present some kind of actual solution to the issue of bad text message conversation. My first thought was to create a typeface that epitomizes sincerity or sarcasm, but I figured that trying to inject another hard and fast "rule" into an interface like iMessage wasn't necessarily going to solve anything once people started using these new tools ironically. However, I trudged on and created an equally cynical dialogue expressing how nice it would be to at least have the freedom to change the color or font of our text messages!


The emoji casino is the final iteration of the idea that we are being "conned" by our increasing use of our modern day hieroglyphics. When I was mix and matching my own emojis together, I realized that no matter which eyes go with which mouth, I'm instantly stirring an already messy pot of caricatures and emotions. The final results are an amalgamation of hilarious expressions, color combinations, and feelings.


The show couldn't have been better and I'm so thankful to everyone that was able to come out and watch my veritable "performance." It's been so encouraging to hear people telling me how much Emoj:,conned has made them really reconsider how and why they text the way they do.