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The racially diverse emoji are here

A colour swatch will allow you to choose the skin tone

Christopher Hooton
Tuesday 04 November 2014 17:38 GMT

After months of rioting, the burning down of at least 15 parliaments and the overthrowing of a handful of rulers, the world is finally to get emoji that reflect its diversity.

Earlier in the year Apple said that it understood that "there needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set" and said it was "working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard".

Now that very consortium, which creates the standardised set of emoji across devices, has put forward a proposal which sees changes that should come in the next Unicode standard update scheduled for the middle of next year.

The emoji are expected to work by holding your finger over a selected face, bringing up a skin-tone swatch that lets you choose your desired hue.

The method could also be used for other symbols like hands and full body emoji.


"Of course, there are many other types of diversity in human appearance besides different skin tones: Different hair styles and color, use of eyeglasses, various kinds of facial hair, different body shapes, different headwear, and so on," the proposal, which comes from a Google and an Apple engineer, states.

"It is beyond the scope of Unicode to provide an encoding-based mechanism for representing every aspect of human appearance diversity that emoji users might want to indicate.

"The best approach for communicating very specific human images—or any type of image in which preservation of specific appearance is very important—is the use of embedded graphics."

Embedded graphics are a longer term solution which would allow arbitrary emoji symbols and not be dependent on additional Unicode encoding, presenting the dream of letting us finally be able to do away with words completely and just communicate in winking circular faces.

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