By Claire Stern
Updated Oct 24, 2014 @ 3:17 pm
Credit: Courtesy

Asian cultures have long embraced the emoji, and even though Gmail has offered the quirky icons since 2009 (lobster, anyone?), it was really only until Apple introduced its iOS 5 update with a whole slew of new smileys and ideographs that they become inherently unavoidable while exchanging messages with anyone under the age of 25. Now, with the word "emoji" inducted into the Oxford English Dictionary and mounting rumors of additional animated offerings with the iOS 8 keyboard, we're seemingly living in an world where symbols reign supreme over words. As a result, there's a whole range of apps cropping up that enable you to use emojis in different ways than, say, simply sending your friend a poop symbol when you feel tired after a long day. Here are three on our radar right now:


Frustrated that most of Apple's emojis seem to cater to a younger, millennial audience, Gina Pell created LOLy, an app that features adult-friendly, sometimes animated emojis and stickers that can be sent via text, email, or Facebook. The 200 symbols offered run the gamut from a pair of Louboutin heels to Pharrell's infamous hat. "I noticed there was a lack of sophisticated and stylish emoji for women," Pell told InStyle. But be warned, the culturally relevant emojis come at a price (albeit a small one): packs ranging from 30 to 50 icons cost $1 each.

Download LOLy for free on an iPhone from the iTunes app store.


Credit: Courtesy Photo

The new iOS 8 bequeathed us with a lot of great things, but chief of which might be Keymoji. The emoji keyboard translates whatever you type in any app (Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc.) into emojis in real time, making emoji-only conversation a conceivable reality for the first time ever. All you need to do is click the autocomplete button on your emoji of choice, instead of mulling over which symbol to choose in the ever-expansive emoji library. What's more, each emoji definition is crowdsourced from Keymoji's user base, so emoji phrases are constantly being created and added. It's an #emojirevolution.

Download Keymoji for free on an iPhone from the iTunes app store.


Credit: Courtesy Photo

We can't help but reel with excitement over new emoji offerings, but what about ones you can customize yourself? Imoji, which launched in July, lets users turn their own selfies, animals, and favorite celebrities into icons you can text via iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more. You can even create your own emoji greeting card chock full of icons and send it with a unique URL, so there's now infinitely cooler way to wish your BFF a happy birthday.

Download Imoji for free on an iPhone from the iTunes app store.