In Brief

A Reason to Headbang: Finland Makes National Emojis

Finland-Emojis
Some of the new Finnish emojis (image courtesy the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland)

Sweden has Ikea. Denmark has teak furniture. Norway has those gorgeous fjords. Finland has … what?

To help outsiders more readily answer that question, the country has developed more than 30 emojis that function as advertisements for all the things that make Finland unique. According to the AP, they feature a man and woman relaxing naked in saunas, a classic Nokia 3310 cellphone, and a heavy-metal headbanger throwing up the horns.

“The Finland emojis were designed with a tongue-in-cheek approach,” Director of Public Diplomacy Petra Theman said in a statement. “But I hope they will tell the world not only about our special features, but also something about our strengths.”

The emojis were designed by Brazilian art director Bruno Leo Ribeiro of the Helsinki-based marketing firm Hasan & Partners. The full set will be available to download on December 1, and it will also appear in the Foreign Ministry’s online advent calendar, available in 13 languages including Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese.

The biggest takeaway about Finland here might be its citizens’ preferred mode of communication. Theman said she believes emojis are especially suited to Finnish people, who are often reserved. “The emojis used especially by young people have revolutionized communications in the same way as the invention of the text message,” she said. “Emojis are used to communicate visually rather than verbally, and that suits Finns.”

Most Finns seem to agree. According to the BBC, the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper polled readers on whether or not they liked the designs. Of more than 4,400 voters, 75% approved.

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