Popular culture has the capacity to connect audiences to difficult issues wordlessly, emotionally and with humor, as grave as the issues may be. We believe that as climate change enters into common language (including recognizable forms like emoji), the environmental justice movement’s issues of concern are reinforced.
The Climoji are designed to distill some of the causes and effects of climate change into tiny, potent icons. As emoji, these conversational tools enter the digital social space where online and smartphone users might encounter them with the same regularity as smiley faces and high-heeled shoes.
This project was initiated and developed by SustainableITP—the volunteer student and faculty group at ITP (the Interactive Telecommunications Program), Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Within the university, at ITP and with Environmental Studies, we developed a workshop format to identify legible key climate change-related concepts, and to easily visualize them.
Our brainstorming sessions with students and professors at NYU were designed to collect different perspectives on climate change. We asked participants to draw their ideas (without text) on 3” x 3” post-its, depicting climate change, both generally and topically (water, waste, emissions, injustice, plastic, etc). These collaborative brainstorming sessions were the foundation for Climoji.