There's an orange heart. A purple heart. A blue one. Even a brown heart. So why no pink heart emoji?
For those who have asked this very question, there is good news on the horizon: a pink heart emoji has passed its first hurdles and could now be on its way to your emoji keyboard.
Above: Cross-platform comparison of colorful heart emojis, without any plain pink heart. Image: Vendor designs / Emojipedia composite.
The lack of a pink heart emoji has been long-standing question and one of the most popular emoji requests for many years.
It's a common sight in the Emojipedia mentions each time a new set of emojis is approved: "but when will we have a pink heart emoji".
Those comments might not be needed come 2023, if plans underway succeed in having a pink heart included in Emoji 15.0.
this is 2021 and we still don’t have a normal pink heart emoji pic.twitter.com/Lm0UDuOv6b— َ (@SpookyGothLoser) September 27, 2021
Based on minutes from the Unicode Technical Committee meeting held in early October and published this week, a recommendation for 21 new emoji candidates has been accepted, and the pink heart emoji is now on the shortlist for the next Unicode release.
📝 Trust The Process
It's not been a quick or easy ride for the pink heart emoji.
Back in 2018, Twitter account FakeUnicode – a so-called parody account that actually excels at responding to enquiries about the occassionally perplexing Unicode Standard – published a graphic showing the inconsistent color distribution between how vendors represent each of the heart emojis.
♥❤🧡💛💚💙💜🖤— Fake “Unicode.” ↙️ (@FakeUnicode) June 13, 2018
Ugh. The color heart distribution across vendor implementations sucks for color wheel (CMYK/RGBW) coverage. We need a CYAN (turquoise) and to urge vendors to move the current blue-cyan to blue. Green is too yellow. Purple should be MAGNETA.
[images: @emojipedia] pic.twitter.com/vrtMIuhVEl
A document published by the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee in January 2020 expanded on work by FakeUnicode in outlining gaps in the heart emoji color spectrum, including pink.
Noting past reluctance to add a pink heart emoji, the document noted:
“In the past there has been feedback from the UTC that the concept of pink is not a universal concept and people who didn't grow up with a word for a color could not distinguish it from other nearby colors.”
Document author and Chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee Jennifer Daniel went on to note the issue isn't insurmountable, nor completely universal:
“English speakers do not generally consider the distinction between light purple and dark purple to be a basic distinction, but that doesn’t mean we would expect the Los Angeles Lakers to play in lavender uniforms.”
Subsequent to this document outlining the issues with the existing balance of heart emoji colors was a formal proposal from Jennifer Daniel and Lauren Gawne, making the case for the pink heart emoji.
Fast forward to October 2021 and the pink heart made the list of recommendations from the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. Being a recommendation doesn't make it a fait-accompli, but is a necessary step in the process.
Above: Unicode proposal document including a pink heart as well as a light blue heart and grey heart.
🤔 But isn't there already a pink heart?
Yes and no.
Presently there is no plain pink heart without additional adornments or features, that is defined by its color alone.
No pink heart that matches the tone and style of the other colored hearts.
Many emoji vendors represent the various elaborated heart emojis in pink, underneath their various other attributes.
Above: a selection of the elaborated heart emojis as they appear across several major devices and platforms. Image: Vendor designs / Emojipedia composite.
- 💖 Sparkling Heart
- 💕 Two Hearts
- 💗 Growing Heart
- 💓 Beating Heart
- 💞 Revolving Hearts
- 💘 Heart with Arrow
- 💝 Heart with Ribbon
- 💟 Heart Decoration
Read more about how these elaborated hearts and each of the colored hearts are used across social platforms.
The inconsistency across the elaborated hearts is highlighted within the proposal document for a plain pink heart emoji:
“This is preventing people from consistently using these hearts... Rather than forcing vendors to align on the color of these secondary hearts, the inclusion of a pink heart will ensure this color is consistently available and usable in identity representation.”
Such identity representations could include color-based representations of different genders and sexualities, as well as different geographic subregions and sports teams.
🧑⚖️ The Deciders
The most recent quarterly meeting of the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) was held in the first week of October 2021.
The UTC is is the group that decides whether to accept or reject recommendations from the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee. Unicode Technical Committee is effectively the decider for all new Unicode characters, not just emojis.
Meeting minutes published show a consensus regarding the new emoji recommendations, including pink heart:
“Accept the repertoire of 21 provisional emoji candidates as documented in L2/21-172R for encoding in Unicode Version 15.0.”
Not all candidates make it to a final release, but most of them do. Should pink heart make it to the next emoji list, this could arrive on phones in late 2022 or early 2023.
Two other plain colored hearts have also been recommended for future encoding: a light blue heart and a gray heart.
⏩ But First
It's early days yet. If the pink heart is approved in the next emoji update it won't be on phones until the end of 2022, at the earliest.
The most recent emoji list Emoji 14.0, came out in September 2021, with new approvals such as melting face and mixed skin tone 🤝 Handshake. Emoji 14.0 hasn't yet been added to any major phone platform. That is: these new emojis are approved, and will come to phones either late 2021, or early 2022.
As for pink heart, that will have to wait for the next release after this one.
Above: New Emojis Approved in 2021, coming to devices in 2021-2022. Image: Emojipedia.
More about new emojis expected to arrive on devices and platforms in late 2021 / early 2022.
📖 Read More
- New Emojis in 2021-2022
- What Every Heart Emoji Really Means
- 217 New Emojis In Final List For 2021
- Emoji 15.0 candidates on Emojipedia
- Emoji Candidates (Provisional) on Unicode.org