Emoji Spelling Bee
The 🔤🐝 for people who can't 🔤.
The next one is being held at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival
November 6, 2019 @ 7 p.m. at The Fringe
Thanks to the support of the Consulate General of the United States.
Um, What's an Emoji Spelling Bee?
How Does It Work?
For an emoji spelling bee, you basically get a group of people together with a projector, mobile phones, creative prompts and hopefully some alcohol.
You throw up creative prompts in English (or the language of your choice) and ask people to "spell" the phrase using emoji in a fixed amount of time (often a minute). Unlike professional spelling bees, where there is a "right answer," emoji spelling bee judging is subjective in nature, often based on parsimony, whimsy and accuracy.
You can structure it as elimination or non-elimination as need be.
EMoji Spelling Bee Prizes
These are the kinds of emoji-themed items we give away as prizes
Betabrand Emoji Poo Dress
Smiling poo on a dress!
An internet classic, the Poo-Emoji dress features a semi-fitted button-front top, elastic waist, and a slight A-line skirt that hits just above the knees.
Breaking Bad Emoji Mug
The mug depicts the entire Breaking Bad pilot episode. You can view it like a puzzle, where you piece all the little clues together to assemble the full story.
Emoji Art by Yiying Lu
Great Masterpieces Emojified
Imaginative re-interpretations of masterpieces by Yiying Lu, first debuted at Emojicon in San Francisco.
San Francisco November 2016 @ Emojicon
Photo Credit: Jennifer 8. Lee/Emojicon. Can be freely used in any context that discusses the Emoji Spelling Bee.
The first winner of the Emoji Spelling Bee was Sam Lemonick of Berkeley, California. He won a trip for two to Finland ✈️ 🇫🇮 courtesy of the Finnish government! Presenting his prize is Petra Theman, Finland’s director of public diplomacy who oversaw the launch of Finland’s official national emoji.
The preliminary online competition attracted over 70 entrants (many of which got a Breaking Bad emoji mug for their participation). The second IRL round attracted 40 contestants.
Prompts throughout the rounds included:
Judging was based on parsimony, whimsy and accuracy. Our advice: Be short, be sweet, answer the question.
Special thanks to Finland's office of Public Diplomacy and Timberland, for providing great prizes.
Austin • 2017
Emoji Spelling Bee
Anyone could enter
The Emoji Spelling Bee @ SXSW took place at Highland Lounge n Austin n Sunday, March 13. About 40 people showed up to compete. Prizes included emoji movie posters, poo emoji clothing from Betabrand and Breaking Bad Emoji mugs
Current Events in Emoji
We had a news and journalism themed prompt slate. They included
March 29, 2017 • The Black Sheep • Dublin, Ireland
Europe’s premier foray into competitive emoji spelling saw 17 people from across the continent do battle within The Black Sheep ⚫🐑 bar on Capel Street in Dublin, Ireland. It was featured across a range of Irish TV 📺 and radio 📻 programmes to promote this event (such as here, here and here). Judges included Irish comedians Bláithín de Burca and Ruth Hunter.
The winner was Sean Russ from Bad Nauheim, Germany 🇩🇪. He defeated Aisling Horan from Newport, Ireland 🇮🇪 2–0 in the finals to claim the title of Europe’s first Emoji Spelling Bee Champion 👑🥇🏆 and a prize of a €100 💯💶 One4All gift voucher. Quarterfinalists received a free burrito 🌯 voucher from Mexican restaurant chain Boojum and all semifinalists received a large emoji teddy featuring some somewhat creepy arms and legs. 👐👣😱
You can read about it in more detail on Medium.
July 20, 2018 • New York, NY
Our first New York City Emoji Spelling Bee was extensively covered in Slate and sponsored by Tinder and Timberland. Run by Zoë Mendolsohn, it was done on Twitter, which allowed our answers to be embedded in articles. And it also had a current events and political flavor. The final prompt was “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?”
November 6, 2019 • The Fringe Dairy • Hong Kong
Our first ever Asian spelling bee took place as part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival in November 2019. The prizes came from the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, and included puzzles, umbrellas, NASA-schwag, magnets and lots more. Judges included
Ikko Yokoyama from mPlus museum in Hong Kong and two officials from the U.S. consulate general. We had about 30 participants and 3 kids.
Given the protests that were ongoing in Hong Kong. The prompts were a mix of pop culture and political. they included
Warm up: Bubble Tea, Mickey Mouse, Black Panther,
Entertainment: Bruce Lee, Frozen, Game of Thrones, Handmaid's Tale, The Avengers, Harry Potter
Hong Kong-specific ones: Rugby Sevens, Be Water, My Friend, Five Key Demands and Not One Less
We also figured out a spiffy system using Airtable. You can see the results in an Airtable chart.
Sponsors for the Emoji Spelling Bee events that have taken place around the world.