🧛 Let’s geek out about emoji 🧄

Eh, just for fun and learnings.

I was talking to @meaganvigus about the various vampire emojis. There are three, and this is kind of fraught just to start: vampire, woman-vampire, and man-vampire. But it’s also interesting to look at how different they look in different fonts. (Emoji have fonts just like other forms of writing!)

The autocomplete emoji here in this forum only has vampire. It is possible to add skin tones to vampires here, options 2-6 (there is no option 1?):

:vampire: the default is kind of blue.

:vampire:t2: :vampire:t3: :vampire:t4: :vampire:t5: :vampire:t6:

But each of those have variations across different fonts, even if you don’t take skin tone into account. Apparently, the gender-based variants are actually older than the new, gender neutral variant, As Emojipedia puts it at https://emojipedia.org/vampire:

:triangular_flag_on_post: Previously displayed a gendered appearance; most platforms switched to a gender-inclusive design for this emoji in 2019.

So I guess that the admittedly awesome Facebook vampire lady is no longer. Alas.


Wait, how did I not put any emoji in the title of this post?

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I can’t believe we have so many vampires, but the :cat2: emoji doesn’t even come in black and white (https://emojipedia.org/cat/).


Emoji cats at least do have diversity of emotions :slight_smile:

:smiley_cat: :smile_cat: :joy_cat: :heart_eyes_cat: :smirk_cat: :kissing_cat: :scream_cat: :crying_cat_face: :pouting_cat: :cat: :cat2:


Also, :scream_cat: is fairly terrifying.


…and useful.


A fun read if you want to learn about where emojis come from: https://www.harvardmagazine.com/lee-emoji-19

Recently, she spent an hour on the phone with someone having trouble passing a group of emoji based on the traditional Chinese lion dance. In one meeting with the UTC, Lee defended “leafy greens,” which some members thought was too similar to “salad.” She explained that many Asians eat leafy greens outside the context of salad and asked whether it would help if the leafy greens were less green and looked more like bok choy. Her colleagues said sure.

“I’m like, ‘Are you serious? Are you really blocking leafy greens?’ and then we finally got it through,” Lee said. “That one took a little bit of a push.”

The Leafy Green emoji proposal: https://www.unicode.org/L2/L2017/17265-leafy-green-emoji.pdf


The different platforms have started getting better at making sure there is some consistency, especially in terms of facial expressions where different versions can really give different meanings.

Emojipedia had a great article about this in 2018: https://blog.emojipedia.org/2018-the-year-of-emoji-convergence/

Also, I should probably say in the interest of disclosure that I have submitted a few proposals for emoji - raised pinky is currently a provisional candidate. I am also currently doing some work with unicode on the handshape emoji set. I’m always happy to try help with emoji questions!


What!? You’re a superhero! :woman_superhero: :+1:

How complicated is the proposal process?

Also, can I just file a complaint that there is no squirrel emoji? There, I said it. :chipmunk:s are not enough for a New Englander.

Like any genre, it took me a while to understand the nature of each piece of the proposal - looking at successful proposals helps, and there’s a fair bit of documentation on the Unicode page: https://unicode.org/emoji/proposals.html

I should also say I worked on the ones I submitted with someone who has worked with Unicode a lot.

:chipmunk::chipmunk::chipmunk: As for squirrels, this is probably saying a lot about the fact I’m from the antipodes, but I didn’t realise it was a chipmunk :sweat_smile:

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So interesting.

I have recently become aware of this sort of thing:



It’s getting nuts, teacher = person + skin tone + school… it’s reminiscent of semantic radicals in Chinese. There is a potential for like… I dunno, the next logographic writing system!