Emoji version 12.0 has been finalized by the Unicode Consortium, and for 2019 we’re getting 230 new emoji. Although the standard is finalized, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other platform vendors still need to create artwork and integrate these new glyphs into their respective platforms. Today we have a preview of what to expect thanks to Emojipedia, which put together a list of the new glyphs with example artwork.
There’s a push for more diversity with this new emoji release. We have emojis for deaf people in three genders (male, female, and genderless) and five skin tones, an ear with a hearing aid, people in motorized and unmotorized wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs, a guide dog and a service dog, and people with a probing cane. There are actually only 59 distinct new emoji types in this release, but everything that depicts a human comes in five skin tones and three genders, which pumps up the numbers. You can really see this with the “People holding hands” emoji, which is completely configurable for a total of 70 possible combinations.
The emoji that’s causing the most buzz is “pinching hand.” Emojipedia’s example shows a thumb and pointer finger with a small distance between them, which could also be interpreted as a hand signal for “small.” People are already coming up with, uh, “suggestive” uses for such a glyph, and if the actual implementations follow Emojipedia’s design, the glyph could end up on the naughty list next to peach and eggplant.
A few more animals make it into this release. Besides the service dogs, we now have glyphs for a flamingo, sloth, otter, orangutan, and skunk. For food we have waffles, butter, garlic, onion, oyster, falafel, mate, a cube of ice, and a juice box. There are a few glyphs you might swear existed already but are actually new additions, like an axe, a chair, and various pieces of swimwear.
On the really boring side of things, we have shapes in various colors. There are now white and brown hearts that complete the rainbow of heart colors, along with circles and squares in multiple colors. Every shape now comes in nine colors—hooray for consistency.
You’d think one day we would run out of things to make tiny pictures of, but with version 12.0 we’re now up to 3,053 total glyphs. I hope your platform has a search function.