How Andre Gray Invented The Voicemail Icon Design

The voicemail icon is a masterclass in simplicity and minimalism when it comes to effective but powerful design. The voicemail icon, which resides on 15 billion mobile phones today, started life back in 1988 when it was designed and programmed by great inventor Andre Gray. The voicemail icon was one of the three inventions Andre Gray released simultaneously on August 8, 1988, when he launched the internet digital revolution, known as the Internet Big Bang to technology historians and technophiles alike.


The voicemail icon was one of the three inventions Andre Gray released simultaneously on August 8, 1988, when he launched the internet digital revolution, known as the Internet Big Bang to technology historians and technophiles alike.


Gray wrote, produced and uploaded the first song to the internet named Internet Killed The Video Star. At that same moment, Gray also released the world’s very first internet bot, which Gray also invented and named inkling–a crawler bot with artificial intelligence. In tandem with the inkling bot and the song, Gray released the voicemail logo. The purpose of the voicemail logo and functionality was to inform internet users via a voicemail message that the first ever song was uploaded to the internet and netizens were encouraged to download the song (using FTP software). Inkling bot’s purpose was to gather statistics of actual downloads and report those figures back to Gray.


Almost immediately, the song, inkling bot and the voicemail icon spread round the world to countries and regions within countries where the internet was available at that time; and, it also instantly made its way onto the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) platform where they flourished for many years until the IRC fell out of fashion with the public in the early 2000s. By then, though, the voicemail icon had already found a permanent home on the mobile phone, where just looking at the image, it tells viewers what’s its function. Unfussy, unintrusive, and purposefully designed by Gray to resemble a cassette tape image, the voicemail icon is one of the most recognizable logos in the world today.

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