Microsoft's new emoji is a surprising blast from the past

If you're of a certain age, you probably remember Microsoft Clippy. The plucky paperclip loved to pop up and offer you help that you definitely didn't need (seriously, how hard can Microsoft Word be?), only to be discontinued in 2007. But it seems everyone's (least) favourite paperclip is back.

Microsoft announced last week that if its tweet (below) got 20k Likes, it would resurrect Clippy in emoji form, replacing the standard paperclip icon. And what do you think happened, dear reader? The internet rose to the challenge, and the tweet currently has over 165k Likes. Clippy's coming home. (Check our our guide to character design if you're inspired to create your own.)

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In a subsequent blog post, Microsoft revealed that Clippy's comeback is part of a much larger emoji overhaul, with the company shifting towards a "playful" vibe. Head shapes, for example, are designed using an imperfect circle. "People aren’t perfect, so why should our graphical representations be?" Microsoft asks. (Apologies to any readers with a perfectly circular head.)

Microsoft emoji

Some of Microsoft's new, "fun" emoji (Image credit: Microsoft)

But of course, the headline here is Clippy. "We had to use this opportunity to make a change that only we could truly make — so long flat, standard paperclip, and hello Clippy!", Microsoft says. "Sure, we may use fewer paper clips today than we did in Clippy’s heyday, but we couldn’t resist the nostalgic pull."

Microsoft clippy emoji

The old paperclip emoji (left) and the new, Clippy version (right) (Image credit: Microsoft)

But while Clippy wasn't exactly popular back in the nineties and noughties, it seems the internet has grown nostalgic about the character in recent years. Perhaps after the events of the last year-and-a-bit, everyone's yearning for simpler times. We know we are.

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And let's not forget, emoji are a pretty well-established form of communication these days – just yesterday, Adobe revealed the world's favourite emoji in 2021. If you fancy designing one of your own, check out today's best Adobe Creative Cloud deals below. 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.