About Emoji

Play Video - Learn About Emoji

Emoji are pictographs (pictorial symbols) that are typically presented in a colorful form and used inline in text. They represent things such as faces, weather, vehicles and buildings, food and drink, animals and plants, or icons that represent emotions, feelings, or activities.  To the computer they are simply another character, but people send each other billions of emoji everyday to express love, thanks, congratulations, or any number of a growing set of ideas.

The Unicode Consortium solicits proposals from the public for which new emoji should be considered for inclusion in the standard. Here’s a sample of some of the latest emoji to be added:

How Are New Emoji Selected?

The Unicode Emoji Subcommittee regularly reviews proposals for new emoji.  The selection criteria are fully defined here, but in essence they boil down to this:  a) will the image work at the small size at which emoji are commonly used, b) does the emoji add to what can be said using emoji or can the idea be expressed using existing emoji, c) is there substantial evidence that a large number of people will likely use this new emoji.

Check out this video by TechInsider for a good explanation of the process.

Go Deeper

For in-depth explanations of some of the considerations that go into the selection and design of emoji, check out these videos on our Unicode Consortium YouTube channel:  

When a Merperson is a Merman:  Using Gender-Inclusive Design for Codepoints Which Don’t Specify Gender

Race is Not a Skin Tone.  Gender is Not a Haircut.

Hanmoji: Analyzing Chinese Radicals to Determine Semantic Gaps in Emoji

Other questions? For more technical information see: https://unicode.org/emoji/techindex.html 
Or  See our FAQ  
Or check out these resources:  
Emojipedia  Emoji Tracker  Emojination


Do You Have a Favorite Emoji?  Adopt It!

Whatever your favorite letter, symbol, or emoji, you can show your appreciation and support the work of the Unicode Consortium by Adopting a Character!

Adopt a Character