A moose , a goose , a donkey , and a jelly fish walk into a keyboard …
Twenty-one new emoji have been added to the Unicode Standard and are are now starting to appear in the most unexpected of places
It’s official: 21 new emoji are here, there, and (nearly) everywhere. Among the collection include a Wing (denotes speed, flight, etc.), a leftwards and rightwards hand (a gesture for stop, push, high five, etc.), and a goose (can be used to say … honk honk?). Emoji appear in the most unexpected of places so keep an eye out on your smart refrigerator, grocery kiosk, and your favorite messaging app of choice over the next few months.
👉 TBH I wrote this newsletter in September 2022 and paused on hitting publish until you could actually see the new emoji in your email inbox of choice. And now that these emoji are available in Gmail, across Android devices, and as of yesterday are available on so iOS I can FIIIINNAAALLLLYYYY justify finally hitting PUBLISH! (That being said, my apologies if you are reading this somewhere that has yet to roll out updates and your inbox is now filled with tofus. Welcome to the world of emoji where the work is never done.)
Can you find them in your keyboard?
What are the new emoji? Here’s a breakdown.
Animals & Nature (7): Donkey, Moose, Goose, Wing, Jellyfish, Hyacinth, 🐦⬛ Black Bird
Smileys & Emotion (4): Shaking Face, Pink Heart, Light Blue Heart, Grey Heart
Objects (4): Folding Hand Fan, Hair Pick, Flute, Maracas
Food & Drink (2): Pea Pod, Ginger
Symbols (2): Khanda, Wireless
Hands (2): Rightwards Pushing Hand, Leftwards Pushing Hand
A distinctive feature of this latest emoji update is that many of the characters are used alongside other emoji to create meaningful, flexible ideas. The more emoji can operate as building blocks 🏗️ and as less as super specific concepts 🖼️ the more versatile, fluid, and useful they become.
What is Old is New Again
First up: Wing emoji! Wings can be found in literature dating thousands of years back to Greek Mythology as well as in contemporary culture in cartoons and movies. They symbolize protection, freedom, and speed to name a few. No need to add a “flying pig” or “time flies” emoji when we can now place a wing emoji next to existing characters.
Let’s talk about hand emoji, with our hands
Researchers have found that talking with your hands “lightens the cognitive load” of speaking. Especially when you're talking about something abstract, conceptual, or strategic, using your hands makes it easier to navigate complex ideas in your brain. According to Lauren Gawne, Emoji Subcommittee volunteer and gesture linguist, emoji operate similarly. They are form of gesture that operate alongside your text to clarify intent or what isn’t literally being said.
While this is a rather literal leap, it comes as no surprise that gestural hand emoji are amongst the most popular emoji. This year’s new appendages — leftwards and rightwards pushing hands — go above and beyond their name. They can be used to communicate “high five”, “no thanks”, and “protection”. They contain multitudes and emoji that have multiple uses are consistently the most frequently used. From a Unicode perspective, this is critical. If we are to avoid emoji-bloat, characters that are symbolic and flexible has become increasingly more important. DYK: Once an emoji is added to the Unicode Standard, it is never removed 🌠
No pineapple pizza for me, thanks
To indicate size
Talk to the hand
To protect him with your life
Stop all the fighting!
FINALLY THE STAR (er, HEART) of the SHOW
What can I say about hearts that hasn’t been previously said? All three of these hearts can be used in combination with other emoji and because they are the shape of hearts, they don’t merely represent the color “pink” or “gray”. The heart shape implies that you care about the concept. For example, my friend Emily is a big fan of the NY Knicks, a local basketball team (😂). In the absence of a NY Knicks emoji, she now can string the hearts together to denote her fandom with the team colors (Orange, Silver, Blue, and Black) 🧡💙🖤. Juxtaposing images together to convey personal concepts is how emoji (and memes! and videos!) operate at the speed of language, identity, and culture in digital spaces.
Other Unicode Updates
DYK: The Unicode Consortium is a small non-profit organization, which is funded primarily through membership fees and donations and the majority of characters in the Unicode Standard are not emoji? It’s true.
You can expect to see a nine pointed white star, used by members of the Bahá’í faith, eight symbols for celestial bodies, used by astronomers and astrologers, and twenty-nine additional Egyptian hieroglyph format controls alongside the 21 previously mentioned emoji on your device of choice in the next few months and early 2022.
Want to support the Unicode Consortium in its goal to support the world’s languages? Consider adopting a character! You don’t have to be limited to the 3,663 emoji: there are more than 136,000 characters that can be adopted.
These are awesome - any news on whether we will have a plain pumpkin? 🎃 is ok, but pumpkin needs love!
can we expect more zwj characters any soon?