For tech-savvy Scots, it is a new way of showing national pride, humour and contrariness to the online world.
A smartphone app developer is to release a series of distinctively Scottish emojis that will allow people to communicate with their friends and family on mobile devices.
The icons, the best known of which is the yellow smiley face, have become an increasingly popular way to express emotions instead of text-based messages or status updates on social media.
Around six billion emojis and similar pictograms are now sent around the world each day, but until now, the selection on offer has lacked a Scottish flavour.
Now, the firm, Fanmoji, which has successfully rolled out British-themed emojis such as black cabs, rainclouds and pints of lager, is to address the shortfall.
Its Scotmoji app features images such as the Forth Road Bridge, the Saltire, the Loch Ness Monster and a Scottie dog, along with commonly used words such as ‘naw’ and ‘baltic’. They are among 100 emojis created by Ayrshire illustrator Kayleigh Dempster that will be available when the app becomes available to buy later this month.
The company’s founder, Tim Webber, said the idea was prompted by the backlash after Apple introduced an emoji app with the flags of nations around the world. Although the release included a graphic for North Korea, Scotland was omitted.
“Scotland suffered a bit of a disservice when the flag was left out of the standard emoji set, so we thought about remedying that problem,” Mr Webber explained.
“As soon as we started putting down ideas and got Kayleigh on board to illustrate them, we realised that we were going to need at least 100 to get anywhere near doing Scotland justice.
“Scots are so passionate about their country, and there’s so much great to celebrate that a whole set of emojis stickers seemed like a great idea. Of course, Scotmoij seemed like the obvious name.”
Ms Dempster, a digital media student at Glasgow Caledonian University, said she wanted Scots to have “something specific to them” they could use to communicate with friends.
She added: “The hardest one was Nessie. She just kept looking a bit weird so I had to keep making changes. My favourite is the Scottie dog. It’s going to be quite surreal seeing people use my designs.”
Fanmoji is also seeking input from the public as what other images should make the cut for the app, having launching a poll on its website.
While famous Scots like William Wallace will already feature, it is asking people to vote for one of Billy Connolly, Mary Queen of Scots or Gordon Strachan to join the roster.
Users can also vote for their favourite phrase out of a selection of ‘haud yer wheesht’, ‘glaikit’ and ‘haste ye back’.