In a move toward greater inclusion, the freshly finalized set of 2019 emoji addresses people with physical disabilities, covering mechanical arms and legs, sign language and hearing aids, and even the difference between manual and motorized wheelchairs. The Unicode Consortium evidently heeded Apple’s proposal last year to better represent people with disabilities, and the new Unicode Emoji 12.0 additions announced today reflect that desire to the fullest. There’s also greater inclusiveness in terms of skin tones and relationship types, as a bunch of new variants of the “people holding hands” emoji expand the combinations of genders and races.
Besides humans, the new emoji also broaden the range of other animals represented, with otters, orangutans, flamingos, and sloths all making it in. On the food front, there’s now butter, garlic, onion, falafel, waffles, and ice cubes. More ominous additions include razors, axes, and a drop of blood. In total, there are 59 new emoji and 171 new variations on existing ones.
One of Emojipedia’s most requested emoji was apparently a white heart, and that omission is now being rectified. In fact, as of 2019, all of the major colors will be represented with circle, square, and heart-shaped emoji. If you’ve been waiting to express yourself with a brown heart, this will be the year your wait comes to an end.
As per usual, the new emoji additions will take a few months to show up in consumer products. The present announcement is merely to get the documentation in order, and then it will be up to software providers like Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft to design their own takes on each emoji and implement those in their device interfaces.