#On This Day – The History of Writing

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019


The 17th of July is World Emoji Day. Celebrated since 2014 it has been claimed that the day was Twitter’s top trending tag on 17th July 2015. The creation of world emoji day is credited to Londoner Jeremy Burge, also creator and founder of Emojipedia. The day is now used as a launch day for new emojis, as Apple did in 2017, even Sony got in on the act when it used 17th July 2016 to announce the first cast member of their forthcoming ‘The Emoji Movie’. Whilst on July 17th 2018 Facebook announced that 700 million emojis are used on its platform every day. Finally, on 17th July 2019, the British Library held an event entitled ‘World Emoji Day: A Celebration’.

‘Making Your Mark’

Sam discusses the development of writing with Dr. Peter Toth, co-curator at the British Library.  The interview was recorded at the time the British Library hosted a landmark exhibition ‘Making Your Mark’. This exhibition took a global view, spanning 5,000 years, of the act of writing. James and Sam discuss the evolution of writing from its origins in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China, and with the aid of Peter Toth, they chart its transformation through the technological and innovative systems which helped produce over forty different systems. From the hieroglyphic hymn to the god Osiris covering a 3,600 year old Egyptian monument to emojis, which are now considered to be a distinctive written language, first created in the late 1990’s, it seems that the unexpected history of writing has almost gone full circle!

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