Emoji are designed in unicode

Emoji Design Lesson Five

Designing emoji:

Emoji are defined in unicode – This basically means that emoji have a code or a number value, an image and also other details e.g. a definition (words), which helps people search for them and to use them on different phones with different software and programs.

Sample Character

B&W

Color

Code

Name

U+270F

pencil

U+2614

umbrella with rain drops

U+1F60E

smiling face with sunglasses

U+1F336

hot pepper

This is how the Unicode standard approaches racial diversity/ different skin colours

Code Name Samples
U+1F3FB EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-1-2
U+1F3FC EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-3
U+1F3FD EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-4
U+1F3FE EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-5
U+1F3FF EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-6

As an example of  how the Unicode standard approaches “diversity”
http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr51/index.html#Diversity
Here’s the unicode definitions and annotations for families – including gay families
http://www.unicode.org/Public/emoji/3.0//emoji-zwj-sequences.txt

This is why the emoji on iphone isn’t available on all android phones yet, and also why phones sometimes display different emoji. For eg: on some phones, if you send a yellow heart then it may display on someone else’s phone as a heart with spikes in it.

When you are designing your emoji you also have to include all these elements: the code/number, the image, and the definition/annotation.

 

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