Did you know that there’s an organization that controls whether or not an emoji exists? That’s right—the Unicode Consortium is responsible for more than 2,500 emojis, and perhaps more importantly, they are accountable for every new emoji that gets officially added.
But the Consortium doesn’t just deal with emojis; it also regulates all software languages. Before the Consortium created the Unicode Standard, a system that helps developers create applications by assigning a unique number to every character in every language, there were hundreds of coding systems. Now, the Unicode Standard is a widely accepted system. Emojis are part of this Unicode set, but since there are constantly new characters, they are evaluated twice a year for potential additions.
How long does it take to get an emoji published? It’s actually a rather lengthy process. It must be proven that it will get used often, that it is new and different from existing emojis, and that it will not be confused with other emojis.
As the use of emojis grows, thankfully so does the diversity in emojis. Initially, emojis were all the same color, leaving out many skin colors and races. But emojis are finally becoming more inclusive, depicting different religions, colors, races, genders, and more! This year, for example, there are petitions to include an afro emoji so that there are other hair types besides just straight and wavy.
So how long does Rhianna Jones, the creator of the afro emoji, have to wait to see if her emoji is accepted? Possibly until 2020, but with enough support and demand for usage, it just might be one of the new emojis approved by the Consortium. We’re rooting for you, Rhianna!