News 2 May 2021

Multi-skin toned handshake emojis are coming

2 May 2021

In a bid to be more inclusive, the next Unicode Consortium emojis update will allow the skin tones used in the handshake emojis to be changed.

Offering users a range of choice, both the left and right hand skin tones can be changed and the flexibility will allow for 25 different combinations.

In a blog post, Jennifer Daniel, Google’s creative director for emoji talked about the process for this new update.

She said, “There was a desire to make it happen, and it was possible to make it happen, but the group appeared to be stuck on how to make it happen.”

Jennifer explained that creating.a new emoji can take up to two years thanks to mechanics like encoding and binary work.

She added, “If emoji are letters, think of it this way: How many accent marks can you add to a letter? Adding more detail, like skin tone, gender or other customization options like color, to emoji gets more complicated.

“It’s easy to identify ‘quick solutions’ but I try to stop and ask what does equitable representation really look like, and when is it just performative?

“Every time we add a new emoji, there’s a risk it could exclude people without our consciously knowing it. The best we can do is ensure emoji continue to be as broad, flexible and fluid as possible. Just like language. Just like you.”

In another recent emoji update this year, gender neutral couples, syringes and flaming hearts were added.