Yes, You also can submit an application for new emoji. But it’s a Lengthy process.
The decision to add a new emoji to Unicode is not one that is taken lightly. Many will submit, but only a handful will get accepted. And the process is thorough. More so than you can even imagine, especially when diversity comes in to question. For the more basic emojis like Food, Symbols, Nature, and Objects, a few questions considered by the committee include: Is this emoji already represented? Is there a demand for such emoji? Is the proposed emoji overly-specific? The answers should be as follows: no, yes, no.
You can find the official criteria required on the Unicode Website, but let’s try to break this down for you.
I’d like to see ‘Hot Air Balloon‘ added as an emoji
Names – What are you naming this emoji? ‘Hot Air Balloon‘
Pictures – What do you expect this emoji to look like?
1. Abstract – Kind-of like being in college again. This is your summary, the what and the why. What your proposed emoji represents and why it’s important to be included.
2. Introduction – A lengthier version of the what and the why. This should include background, history, and importance.
Now for the details…
3. Selection Factors — Inclusion
A. Compatibility – “Are these needed?” Usually starts something like this….”We don’t know of any ‘Hot Air Balloon‘ images currently used in the major platforms (Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft). However, ‘Hot Air Balloon‘ was represented somewhere/somehow which makes it pertinent to be added to Unicode.”
‘Hot Air Balloon‘ represents a unique opportunity to begin emoji representation for the ideas of (what else could these emoji represent?).
B. Expected Usage Level – This is a multi-tiered response supporting your emoji’s expected popularity.
- 1. Frequency – Now here is where you get fancy and bust out with a few Google Graphs. According to the Unicode website, “this is the most important factor for inclusion, after compatibility.” The graphs should support that there is a high level of searches (demand) for your particular emoji. You might even compare their suggested emoji with one already in Unicode to show its popularity comparatively.
- The expected usage should be considered worldwide, or even within a particular community. According to the recent proposal for ‘Dumpling’, for example, dumplings show a high usage expectancy in Asian countries as well as many others where they can represent food items such as pierogi and empanadas.
- Instagram Hashtag analysis can also be used to show levels of frequency.
- 2. Multiple Usages – How else can these emoji be used? Is there some sort of metaphorical symbolism?
- 3. Use in Sequences – I noticed not many of the sample proposals found online actually cover this, but it occurs more often than you realize. Sequences of emoji are joined by what’s known as a ZWJ, or Zero Width Joiner. Essentially the glue that brings 2 or more emojis together.
- These are a few simple examples of ZWJ’s but when you consider skin tones as well as gender, you can imagine things get a bit more complicated.
C. Image Distinctness – Are there any other emojis already in use that could be confused with this proposed emoji? No? Good. There shouldn’t be.
D. Completeness – Does your proposed emoji fill a gap in somewhere within the existing types of emojis? For example, there are some categories of emojis like the upcoming Science Collection being considered for addition including ‘DNA’, a ‘petri dish’, and other lab equipment to round out the already included ‘microscope’, ‘telescope’, etc.
Even if your proposed ‘Hot Air Balloon‘ emoji doesn’t fill in a gap somewhere, no worries, it doesn’t necessarily have to in order to be considered. The Unicode Subcommittee takes care of some of this on their own.
E. Frequently Requested – One might say this goes along with Frequency as listed above, yet it applies only to Unicode. Has this emoji been previously requested? This might not always be known or applicable.
- Often times groups will create petitions to have a certainly requested emoji added. According to Unicode, petitions are “only considered as possible indications of the potential frequency of usage”. Apparently, petitions play a small role in selecting emoji.
4. Selection Factors – Exclusion
F. Overly Specific – Yeah, you don’t want this. The image must be distinct, but not overly specific. Want a cookie? Of course, you do. But you can’t have a ‘Chocolate Chip’ emoji cookie as well as a ‘Peanut Butter’ cookie, and why not an ‘Oatmeal Raisin’ while we’re at it? Eh, who likes raisins anyway?
But apparently, we do need a fortune cookie!
According to the official proposal, the ‘Fortune Cookie’ is not overly specific because “it is widely recognized in Western culture.”
G. Open-ended – Is this ‘Hot Air Balloon‘ emoji unique? Why?
H. Already Represented – “Can the concept be represented by another emoji or sequence?” You don’t want this to be the case, otherwise, you might as well start over with a new emoji proposal.
I. Logos, Brands, UI Icons, Signage, Specific People, Deities – No, you will never see an Oreo cookie or a Kim Kardashian emoji. Well, not officially anyway. These “emojis” are considered “Stickers” since they are not approved or a part of the Unicode language.
J. Transient – Are people going to want to use this emoji over time? I think it’s safe to say that hot air balloons aren’t a fad, but imagine if someone had requested a ‘Fanny Pack’ emoji back in the 90’s, how funny would those look showing up on your phone these days?
K. Faulty Comparison – Although I could not find any previous example Proposals with this section, basically what Unicode is saying is that just because there are 4 different ‘mailbox’ emojis, and 3 different options for a ‘dog’ (front, side, poodle), doesn’t make your emoji submission more important or worthy. So don’t go proposing that your precious ‘Shitzu’ Bianca gets her own emoji.
Is this why we’ll never get our coveted ‘Cupcake’ emoji? Because there is already a whole cake and a piece of cake represented? Or what about an ‘Equals’ sign? Just because we have plus, minus, times, and the division sign doesn’t mean the equals sign should automatically be added without consideration? (There is an equals sign in Unicode, just not an equals sign emoji)
How Long Does it Take?
The whole process can take about a year. We submitted our ‘Mermaid’ Emoji Proposal back in September 2016. Users will just now see these awesome mythical creatures show up on their iPhone’s and other compatible devices with the new Unicode 10.0 release in June.
Also to note, now more than ever the whole of your proposal should carry its weight without relying on Google Trends graphs, which don’t really indicate the number of requests for a certain emoji, but more or less a certain word. And you can imagine a lot more people are searching for ‘Cupcake’ than ‘Custard’. Because of cupcake!
Ways Emojis Are Suggested to Unicode:
1. Proposals – Either an individual or a group can submit a proposal to Unicode with all of the outlined criteria listed above included.
2. Unicode Sub-committee proposals usually group together emoji recommendations for reasons such as compatibility usage as well as popular requests from online communities; basically filling in the gaps in the existing set of Unicode emoji such as the Science Collection discussed previously.
Rules of Submission:
The complete criteria can be found on the Unicode website.
Emoji proposal submissions less than 6 megabytes can be done by email and the preferred format is PDF (although HTML, .doc, .rtf, and .odt are also acceptable, but that comes with a whole other set of rules).
The deadline for submission is usually 7 days before the start of the next meeting date.
Email Message fields must be filled in as follows:
Subject: “UTC Document Submission: <name of your topic>”
- Ex. UTC Document Submission: Hot Air Balloon Emoji
Body: “Please consider the attached document for submission to the UTC”
- On the first page, your document should clearly identify yourself (the author), the subject, and the date of submission.
- Don’t forget headers/footers and page numbers on each page.
- Do not use plain text. Plain and simple, just don’t.
- Layout – Although most proposals are viewed electronically during meetings, it is still important to set up your document margins (headers and footers) to be suitable for printing on both A4 (International) and 8.5×11 paper.
- Embed all of your fonts! Don’t expect UTC meeting attendees to try and figure out what it is you’re trying to say with your nifty new font that they may not have available on whatever device it is they’re viewing your submission on.
- Including a URL where your document can be retrieved is a good idea regardless, but if you’re submitting a multi-file document, or your document is over 6 megabytes, then it is required.
“The Unicode Consortium reserves the right to unilaterally reject documents for posting to the document register.”
Once a document is received and accepted for the registry, a document number is assigned to it and you will be notified.
To be considered for inclusion in the release of the Unicode Standard for 2018, proposals must be submitted before July 1, 2017.
Now that you’re an emoji proposing pro, you better hurry up and suggest one of your own!
??? Happy #WorldEmojiDay! Here’s how to make a new emoji: https://t.co/BQHNbUC10v. ??? pic.twitter.com/mDL9CGqmKb
— YouTube (@YouTube) July 17, 2018