quirky food emojis speak to the universal language of edibles + emoticons




when traveling to a foreign country, people tend to find innovative ways to communicate with locals, despite not sharing a common tongue. universal languages, gestures and symbols help bridge cultural divides and connect otherwise disparate individuals. the advent of ubiquitous technological devices has allowed digital pictures to convey a host of topics. emoticons — simplistic faces and figures that illustrate emotion, temperature, travel and time — have become a common and clear way for people to exchange ideas. on a more tangible level, food can also be considered a ‘language that people from all corners of the globe can identify with — a common thread that ties together culture and community. 

‘italy: cuore mio’




these two universal languages became the focus of the project ’emojis & food’. stylist anna keville joyce teamed up with photographer agustín nieto to create a sequence of compositions that illustrate a hybrid of emoticons and edibles based on three different countries. for italy, the team have created the ‘heart-shaped eyes face’ using spaghetti, tomato sauce and peppercorns; ‘dizzy face’ for japan is made up of sliced salmon, seaweed and a side of soy sauce; the spread for mexico sees the smiling figure with sunglasses made from rice, beans and red peppers. the blend of ingredients — both digital and tangible — form quirky and curious creations that speak to the universal lingo of both food and faces. 

‘mexico: buena onda’

emojis rendered in the styles of italy, japan and mexico 


anna keville joyce teamed up with photographer agustín nieto work on ’emoji & food’

the styling involved the careful creation of faces from food


project info:


styling/creative direction: anna keville joyce | akj foodstyling
creative direction: fede setter | buffalo visual studio
photography: agustín nieto | agustin nieto photography
retouching: stephen thaya – STRUKA
production co.: STRUKA