The New Unicode.org Also Offers Emoji Enthusiasts the Chance to “Adopt a Character”

The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that maintains text standards to support all the world’s written languages across every device, today debuted a new look for unicode.org. The redesigned website will make information about the emoji proposal process more easily accessible while encouraging public participation and engagement in all Unicode initiatives.

“Unicode is a global technology standard that is one of the core building blocks of the internet,” said Unicode board member Greg Welch. “Unicode has helped facilitate the work of programmers and linguists from around the world since the 1990s. But with the rise of mobile devices and public enthusiasm for emoji, we knew it was time to redesign the Unicode website to make information more easily accessible, and increase community involvement.”

Emoji were adopted into the Unicode Standard in 2010 in a move that made the characters available everywhere. Today, emoji have beenused by 92% of the world’s online population. And while emoji encoding and standardization make up just one small part of the Consortium’s text standards work, the growing popularity and demand for emoji have put the organization in the international spotlight.

“We’ve been working with the Unicode Consortium for several years to open up the emoji proposals process by making it more accessible and understandable,” said Jennifer 8. Lee, co-founder of Emojination. “While I personally found the late-90s aesthetic of the developer-centric Unicode.org site very retro and nerd charming, the new site redesign is a reflection of Unicode’s deep desire to engage the public in its work.”

In addition to offering a clearer picture of the emoji submission and standardization process, the new Unicode.org website offers information about the Consortium and its mission to enable people everywhere in the world to use any language on any device.

“Emoji are just one element of our broader mission,” said Mark Davis, president and co-founder of the Unicode Consortium. “The Consortium is a team of largely volunteers who are dedicated to ensuring that people all over the world can use their language of choice in digital communication across any computer, phone or other device. From English and Chinese to Cherokee, Hindi and Rohingya, the Consortium is committed to preserving every language for the digital era.”

A team of designers from Adobe provided design and branding support, as well as free access to leading design tools, to bring Unicode’s new website to life.

“The Unicode Consortium’s work to keep digitally disadvantaged languages alive is incredibly important,” said Adobe Design Program Manager Lisa Pedee. “We collaborated closely with the Consortium to develop a unique visual brand and streamlined web interface that makes everything from contributing language data to proposing an emoji more accessible, inclusive and user-friendly.”

The Consortium’s recent language work includes adding language data for Cherokee, encoding the Hanifi Rohingya script, and developing the Mayan hieroglyphic script.

The Consortium invites emoji and language enthusiasts to celebrate World Emoji Day on July 17 and “Adopt a Character” to support its ongoing efforts. More than 136,000 characters are up for adoption — including this new Emoji 12.0 additions such as the sloth, the sea otter, the waffle and Saturn.

sloth image otter image waffle image ice image ringed planet image

Those who choose to adopt will receive a custom digital badge they can display to publicly show their support, whether on their website or social media. The Unicode Consortium is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and “adoption fees” are tax-deductible in the U.S. Additionally, some companies may provide matching funds. Learn more and adopt your character here.