The hellscape that is 2020 is enough to leave anyone speechless.
So it’s good timing on the part of Unicode, which just announced a new batch of 217 emojis you can use when crying into your keypad makes it difficult to write actual words. And while it’s hard to say what will happen in the last few months of the year, at least one emoji from the new batch—”face with spiral eyes”—will be very relevant by the time 2020 is put to rest. [Insert sob emoji here.]
But while the emojis were announced this week, they won’t actually make it to your phones and computers until next year—as early as January and as late as October 2021, depending on when major vendors like Apple, Google, and Facebook incorporate them into platform updates. The Unicode Consortium typically releases new emojis in the spring, but because of COVID-19, it delayed this year’s release.
The majority of the new emojis—200 out of 217—introduce mixed skin tone options for several of the emoji couples, which were previously only available in a yellow skin tone. (“Despite being intended as a neutral color, [yellow humans] more closely associated with white people, than people with any darker skin tone,” the organization said in its announcement post.) This release continues the consortium’s effort to diversify representation, although it’s worth noting that these are only guidelines, as indicated by Facebook’s emoji misstep earlier this year. The package also releases gender-neutral and gender-specific emojis with beards, just in time for that perfect quarantine holiday, no-shave November.
The package also includes a few “smileys” that do anything but—one exhales in exasperation, one has its face in the clouds (literally), and of course, the aforementioned spiral eyes. A “mending” red heart wrapped in a bandage and a red heart on fire, indicating desire, round out the group. (Should you want a way to express exasperation now, founder of design firm &Walsh released a free custom emoji set earlier this year.)
Anyway to speed the rollout up a bit? Because I’m certainly ready for this year to end, and I’m running out of ways to say it.