By Vania Andre
Emojis are being taken to the next level by three Haitian Americans, with the latest evolution of the emoticon apps.
Lingoji, a new emoji app that interjects cultural sayings with expressive caricatures was developed by Patrice V. Gervais, David-Georges Renaud, William Belle and Gerald Brun.
“These expressive images have evolved from yellow, googly-eyed balls to highly-detailed, racially-diverse faces,” the founders said in a statement. “But why settle for one visual representation of a culture when you can have a full catalog of emojis tailored specifically to a country’s peoples and societies?
“True communication flourishes when you breathe life into the subtleties of the population’s culture.”
The new emoji app is available for free on Google Play and on Apples’s App Store; however to access a trove of culturally specific icons, users must purchase the catalog of lingojis for $1.99. Each country has its own catalog, which features dozens of emojis with common expressions, both traditional and current, used by locals in that country. The name of the app comes from the combinations of emojis with various Caribbean lingo.
The app currently features a catalog of lingojis from Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
The next country on their list to create a lingoji for is the Philippines.
“We’ve received a lot positive feedback on our app,” Gervais said. “Our consumers want us to continue and expand.”
The most popular lingojis are the Mezami emoji from Haiti and Bredren emoji from Jamaica.
Gervais found inspiration for the project from his love of other cultures. The New York transplant, by way of Haiti, developed “an appreciation for cultures” while living in the “melting pot” of New York City. He decided to use that appreciation to “embrace inform, and push for diversity in the emoji world.”
“Lingoji aims to revolutionize how people think of visual communication by injecting culture to the symbols we use every day to convey humor, context, and tone,” he said. “The use of these expressive images will show the variety of cultures around the world that are not fully seen with the current emoji keyboard.”