What makes an emoji?
Those symbols on your phone aren’t just random. They’re actually designed by a consortium of people in the tech industry so there’s a standard any device can read.
The group is called the Unicode Consortium, and although it has historically decided standards for text and punctuation, it has shifted a lot of focus to emojis due to their recent popularity.
According to a profile on the Unicode Consortium in The New York Times, there are a few requirements new emojis must meet before they’re made official, including:
- Emojis can’t represent living people or deities.
- Emojis that complete a set, like the upcoming groom emoji that complements the current bride emoji, can get priority.
- They can’t use intellectual property, so don’t expect to see famous fictional characters in your emoji keyboard. (However, Twitter has done a good job creating branded emojis when you tweet certain hashtags.)
- A new emoji has to be something the consortium thinks a lot of people will want to use. For example, The New York Times story says a lot of sports emojis are coming next year because of the 2016 Olympics.
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