The Unicode Consortium is furthering efforts to make its emojis more inclusive, expanding its emoji catalog to offer more diversity for hair colors and styles. Finally, people with red, white, curly or no hair will be able to see themselves in icon format.
Several of the additions, such as representation for redheads, have been in demand for more than a year. Curly or natural hair on emojis has been so hotly demanded that Dove released an emoji keyboard just for curly-haired women.
With emoji-based marketing generally considered to make brand messaging more fun—especially among women and those ages 25-to-44—this added diversity can only give brands more options for producing more inclusive content.
But Unicode is already taking flak on Twitter for its female curly-haired emoji, with some claiming that the hairstyle does not accurately reflect natural hair. According to Unicode, the look is based on the real hair of lifestyle YouTuber Ciara Anderson, but the emoji curls have many still feeling left out.
The new emojis are now available in beta, which means that the community backlash may result in a total redesign before the batch is released in Q2 of 2018.
The rest of the 130-emoji collection has been less controversial, with new additions like a fire extinguisher, stick of dynamite and frowning feces failing to spark any heated discussion. In the document discussing the added emojis, Unicode explicitly omitted non-natural features such as dyed hair, piercings and tattoos, which may well be the subject of the next inclusivity push for the image icons.
This year has seen many marketers pushing to better represent the diversity in the communities they serve, and the latest emoji update marks at least another small step in that direction.
🗓 Emoji 11.0 Timeline
🐛 Q4 2017: Beta
🎉 Q1 2018: Final
📝 Q2 2018: Unicode 11.0 final
📲 Q3-Q4 2018: Major platform support pic.twitter.com/YV2Xv8OGJO
— Emojipedia 📙 (@Emojipedia) December 8, 2017