Ahead of World Emoji Day, Emojipedia’s emoji experts compiled and published sample images of 31 new emoji characters for inclusion in version 15.0 of the Unicode Standard. Among the new emoji we can expect to see on our phones and other devices later this year are: a plain pink heart (with gray and light blue versions), high-fives, a moving face, a mouse. Head, a ginger root, maracas, a Wi-Fi symbol, a jellyfish and a terrifying swan.
There are a few more hurdles these emoji have to jump before we can actually start sending them to each other. First, they’ll need to include it in the final version of Unicode 15.0, which is currently scheduled for release in September 2022. Then, software developers would need to create their own designs for these characters and release them via software updates, something that usually happens. Several months after the Unicode spec was finalized.
As for emoji, the proposed list of new emoji is notable for its small size—”in fact, this is the smallest number of new emoji recommended by Unicode at any time.” This is also the first draft emoji list with no new people emoji, although it does include new hand gestures, and the last few versions of Unicode have collectively added hundreds of new people emoji. The emoji subcommittee has been pushing in recent years to rein in the number of new emoji included in any release, given how often emoji characters are used, and how many emoji characters are used by companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung. How much does it work for? An ever-growing list of emoji in their software.
Emoji is generally the most commented element of any new Unicode standard, but the current draft of version 15.0 adds a total of 4,489 new characters, including those required for the Kawi and Nag Mundari scripts. Unicode 15.0 will support a total of 149.186 characters, which includes 3,664 emoji characters (once you account for all modifiers, including all modifiers for skin, hair color, and gender).