Real Emoji

A proposal for 35 new emoji that go beyond the hugs and kisses of the standard emoji set.

Real Emoji is a proposal for an extension of the standard emoji set with 35 new signs (words) that allow showing (talking about) our1 current society.

Real Emoji tries to provide many signs that are not included in the standard emoji set, because they are controversial2 in certain cultures, overly specific, too weird, too local, too personal or just forgotten. You can find the list of the standard emoji at Emojipedia.

Signs

Real Emoji contains signs related to human body, life, relationships, mental health, work, ecology, drugs, and my personal favorite meal. It follows previous attempts (some successfull) to add new emoji to the standard set, such as the rifle emoji, middle finger emoji, menstruation emoji, mosquito emoji, peach butt emoji. white-wine emoji or the pickup truck emoji.

Decisions

Many decisions were made while designing Real Emoji. Some of the more important ones include not showing graphic violence or sex, chosing an unrealistic suicide method, not connecting laziness with work, showing economic crime instead of violent one, showing structural racism, and focusing on moralizing behavior instead of shame.

Use

Real Emoji are available as Telegram stickers and as a font file. If you wanted to use them in any app and be sure that they show on all phones and computers, the emoji would need to be submitted to the Unicode Consortium3, an organization that governs the universal character set, and accepted. You can submit a request for inclusion of Real Emoji to the consortium yourself, if you think they meet the selection factors. I personally don’t believe that they would be accepted. There is also a proposal to change the process how emoji are defined, which – if implemented – would render the current submission process obsolete.

Acknowledgements

The design of Real Emoji is based on Twitter Emoji (Twemoji). The design of the fetus emoji is based on a photo by the National Museum of Health and Medicine available at Wikipedia. The design of the moralizing emoji is based on a woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld available at Wikipedia. The design of the Svíčková na smetaně emoji is based on a photo by Matyáš Havel available at Wikipedia. The color of the ugliness emoji is Pantone 448C, a color voted the ugliest color in the world. The term “hugs and kisses” is a quote from Mark Fisher’s book Capitalist Realism.

License

The code of Real Emoji is licensed under the Apache License. The Real Emoji graphics (SVG images) are licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License.


  1. from my point of view as someone who is part of the middle class, male, white, was born in Prague and lives in Berlin

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  2. there is actually no emoji selection factor that would exclude controversial emoji, however vendors (e.g. phone manufacturers) would most likely not implement controversial emoji, because they want to provide their services in all cultures; as seen with the removal of the Taiwan flag emoji

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  3. members of the Unicode Consortium are Apple, Facebook, Google, Huawei, Microsoft et al.

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