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


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news