The Emoji Subcommittee challenges the internet to come up with something it has not seen before

The future of texting is on the line!


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History is filled with examples of humans telling stories and conveying ideas through detailed imagery rather than written words. It began with early cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphs, but we have since evolved to the more nuanced and unassailable dominance of emoji as our preferred pictograph; and why would not we, those others do not even have a way to tell people it’s time for a burrito 🌯⏰. But like any language, emoji must evolve, and the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee – or little picture gods – are preparing to look over πŸ‘πŸ‘ suggestions from the internet to determine our texting πŸ“± future.

Every year the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee, a group within the Unicode Consortium, welcomes submissions for the next major version of Emoji. Submissions in 2020 resulted in 37 new emoji in Unicode 14 added last year, and the final list of additions for Unicode 15 is due out later this year, but there are currently 21 likely picks. This year’s winning entries will be inducted into 16.0 and become a part of history πŸ“œ.

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Since the Internet can not be trusted to make suggestions or vote πŸ—³ without turning it into a joke, the Emoji Subcommittee (ESC) only opens the doors to suggestions and then maintains a rigorous selection process to ensure the submissions are taken seriously. The guidelines and rules boil down to a few broad goals that aim for emoji that can be used both literally and metaphorically (like the crutch 🩼 added with emoji 14), work alone or in a sequence (like the tried and tested πŸ†πŸ’¦), and represent something that can not be done with an existing emoji – in other words, they do not want more flags or need more shoes πŸ‘ πŸ₯ΎπŸ‘ŸπŸ‘žπŸ‘‘πŸ₯Ώ. Of course, it’s not hard to spot a few recent additions that do not exactly live up to the guidelines.


The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2022. Only about 30 emojis are added each year, though some years have seen as few as 7 added once all is said and done. If you have something in mind, start by checking out the list of approved emoji and those that are already being judgedπŸ§‘β€βš–οΈ. If you think you’ve got something special in mind that the ESC has to consider 🧐, check out the official blog post for links to more rules and guidelines, and then send in a proposal. Last month, AP spoke to Jennifer Daniel, the head of design for emoji at Google, and the brains behind its Emoji Kitchen. You can read everything we learned about Emoji Kitchen here.


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