Got a new emoji idea? Here’s how to make it happen


New emoji
Apple showed off new emoji Tuesday that will be out this fall.
Photo: Apple

There are close to 3,000 different emoji, but you can’t find one that expresses how you are feeling. So you have an idea for one sketched out.

Now what?

For World Emoji Day 2019, we offer you a glimpse into the process. The word “process” should signal to you that the simple symbols and characters we use in texting every day take a complicated path to your iPhone.

Each proposed emoji goes before a non-profit organization called the Unicode Consortium, which assigns new emoji a number so it can be used and exchanged on all devices and in any language.

The assigned code allows emoji sent in a text from an iPhone to appear on an Android handset.

Unicode teamed with Adobe for a website redesign that launched today. The site now makes it easy for people to learn about Unicode and understand the steps to get the idea before the group.

Happy World Emoji Day 2019: a bagel’s journey

To bring your emoji idea to life, it needs to be recognizable in a small form. You will need to pitch the idea to Unicode with a proposal that resembles a research paper.

One of the newest on the emoji keyboard is the bagel, which was proposed by a group of 10 people who authored a 13-page pitch.

Proposed bagel emoji
This is a section of the first of a 13-page proposal for the bagel emoji.
Photo: Unicode Standard

The first page offered two versions of what the emoji might look like. One was light brown and clearly ring-shaped. The authors anticipated that Unicode might be concerned that the bagel in emoji form looked too similar to the donor. The authors included a second version, show sliced halves which would make stand out from its sweeter cousin.

The written proposal, which you can read here, included the bagel’s history as a popular food item and its cultural significance to the Jewish community. Each fact was footnoted and authors included Google trending data as a way to show the potential of high usage for a bagel emoji.

The bagel, the authors noted, tends to trend higher than three other categories of bread that are already on the emoji keyboard, the baguette, croissant and pretzel. On Instagram, #bagel appeared on 1.1 million posts.

The authors suggested how it might pair with other emoji, like the pizza slice, clinking glasses to represent celebrating a Jewish holiday or with a runner to communicate the need to carbo-load before a race.

The sliced bagel won approval and like many emoji, it was an immediate social media lightning rod for controversy.

Many thought it looked unappetizing. Cream cheese company, Philadelphia, seized the opportunity for free advertising by tweeting a poll asking followers if they thought the bagel needed a schmear of cream cheese. More than 13,000 responded and 82 percent said yes to cream cheese.

Apple updated the bagel emoji with cream cheese for iOS 12.1 and #sadbagel disappeared from social media.

What’s popular?

As part of World Emoji Day 2019, Adobe released the results of a survey it did with people who regularly use emoji. It found 65 percent were more comfortable expressing their emotions through emoji than a phone call (In Generation Z alone, that figure was 83 percent).

Love, happiness and sadness were three emotions most expressed, according to the 1,000 users surveyed by Adobe, and the three most popular emoji, in order, is laughter with tears, the heart for love and kisses.