Mexico City Launches a Competition for Official Emoji

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iStock

Mexico City is calling upon its designers to picture the city in emoji. The city government just launched an open design competition to create 20 new emoji that symbolize the city and its residents, according to Co.Design.

The competition, organized by Laboratorio para la Ciudad, the city government’s civic innovation lab, will help government officials understand how people relate and respond to the metropolis. Not to mention widening residents’ ability to talk about where they live sans words.

The purpose, according to the project website (translated from Spanish with the help of Google):

Emoji CDMX is a playful, small-scale project, a kind of social thermometer that will generate new ways to narrate the city, to understand a city that constantly creates meanings or new references, to stimulate the imagination of the designers; it is a reflection on our symbols as a city.

Mexico City doesn’t have an Eiffel Tower or a Golden Gate Bridge or an Empire State Building to serve as an automatic, singular shorthand for the area. And as the second-largest city in the Americas, it would be hard to encapsulate it entirely in just one symbol. The 20-image sticker pack (which won’t be official emoji, as approved by the Unicode Consortium, so you’ll have to download it from the App Store or Google Play) will represent a broader experience of the places and things residents love about Mexico City.

The first-place winner, to be announced on July 30, gets approximately $1660, as well as eternal urban/technological glory.

[h/t Co.Design]

New LEGO Sets Let You Recreate the Iconic Skylines of San Francisco and Paris

In 2016, LEGO began releasing architecture-themed sets that let toy-loving designers recreate the world’s most famous skylines in their own homes, beginning with re-creations of New York, Venice, and Berlin. And now, the company is adding Paris and San Francisco to the mix, according to Archinect.

The new LEGO Architecture kit for Paris will feature the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe (both already available as stand-alone skyscraper kits) as well as the Louvre, the Tour Montparnasse, and other famous buildings. The LEGO San Francisco kit features the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, 555 California (formerly the Bank of America Center), Alcatraz Island, and the new Salesforce Tower, which recently became the city’s tallest building.

LEGO sets of the Paris and San Francisco skylines
LEGO

No doubt residents of both cities will have some gripes about which buildings were included and which were nixed from the kits. The Tour Montparnasse, in particular, was so deeply loathed upon its completion in the 1970s that the city of Paris promptly imposed a strict height restriction on buildings taller than 11 stories. Meanwhile, many San Francisco residents are still adjusting to the sight of the Salesforce Tower, which opened in 2018—it has been called “an atrocious spectacle,” its height described as “really offensive.”

You can check out all the kits from LEGO’s Architecture line here. Keep an eye out for the San Francisco and Paris versions starting early next year.

[h/t Architect]

Aquarium Points Out Anatomical Error in Apple's Squid Emoji

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iStock.com

When an inaccurate image makes it into Apple's emoji keyboard, the backlash is usually swift. But the squid emoji had been around for more than two years before the Monterey Bay Aquarium pointed out a major anatomical error on Twitter. As The Verge reports, the emoji depicts a squid with a siphon on its face—not on the back of its head, where it should be.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium dragged Apple for the misstep on Wednesday, December 5. "Not even squidding the siphon should be behind the head," the aquarium tweeted, "rn it just looks like a weirdo nose."

A squid's siphon serves some vital purposes. It pumps water over the gills, allowing it to breathe, and it blasts water away when the squid needs to propel through the sea. It's also the orifice out of which waste is expelled, making its placement right between the eyes in the emoji version especially unfortunate.

Emojis have incited outrage from marine biology experts in the past. When the Unicode Consortium released an early design of its lobster emoji earlier this year, people were quick to point out that it was missing a set of legs. Luckily the situation was rectified in time for the emoji's official release.

Apple has been known to revise designs to appease the public, but getting the squid's siphon moved to the other side of its head may be a long shot: Until the most recent backlash, the emoji had existed controversy-free since 2016.

[h/t The Verge]

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