Changes to Unicode Emoji Glyphs

Changes to Unicode Emoji Glyphs

Among the new emoji proposals approved at the Unicode Technical Committee meeting last week, there was also a proposal to update some of the old or inadequate emoji glyphs shown in Unicode charts.

The document[1] titled Emoji Glyph Updates outlines that:

"Some emoji glyphs in Unicode charts are no longer in step with vendor consensus, and thus don’t clearly display the emoji as a regular person would expect."

Included are 28 recommendations for images to be changed, along with a vendor example of how the new image could look.

While Unicode is not prescriptive about how vendors display characters in their respective fonts, these glyphs are still important as a basic reference for anyone looking to create an emoji font.

Here's a sample of the approved recommendations:

😵 Dizzy Face is to use spirals as eyes, instead of the Japanese manpu-inspired X eyes (which means "dead" in much of the rest of the world):

💩 Pile of Poo gets eyes and a smile in the charts[2], removing the the stink-lines and flies from the current image. This is now how the majority of vendors display it:

👾 Alien Monster is changing to give more clarity on the type of alien being a video-game character[3]:

🤹 Juggling was approved before the Emoji 4.0 gender updates, and as such the glyph mattered less whether it had a full-body or not.

Now it's clear all vendors have implemented with female and male versions, so the glyph should show a body to be more consistent:

🐋 Whale looks like a sad fish in the current glyph. Why so skinny?

These images will be changed in future versions of the Unicode charts to more closely align with the vendor example shown. The approval is only step-one in the process, so that now new designs can be created.

View the full list of recommendations here:

  1. Note: I was a co-author of this document. ↩︎

  2. "Eyes, not flies" is how I have been referring to this. ↩︎

  3. There is a separate code point for 👽 Extraterrestrial Alien. ↩︎