Create new emoji (emoji): how to suggest your own emoticon?

Read about what emoji are and how to create your own emoji. Let’s describe the process of approving and implementing a custom emoji.



The most popular and regularly used element in email correspondence is an emoji (smiley), a miniature component of the graphical expression of user’s own feelings and actions, which determines the author’s attitude to the ongoing processes, denoting a call to events and implying many other uses.

The graphic language of emoji uses combinations of various funny pictures instead of words, thereby improving the emotional perception of a text message, and often even completely replacing it with itself. Originally, the emoji conveyor included a small amount of well-known pictures responsible for a particular kind of expression. But later, the number of emoji images has increased significantly.

Nowadays, everyone can come up with an emoticon on their own. And if the user is ready to do the simple job of creating emoji, then their own emoticons can spread worldwide and become part of any email application, social platform and operating system. In the following, we’ll detail what you need to do to become a part of the community of creators of popular emoji images.

How did emoji get started?

Most people think that the graphic image of a smiley (sometimes used for “smiley”, plural) is a recent invention, but this statement is not true at all. The idea of ​​creating individual symbols to represent human faces or individual objects dates back to the late 90s and early 2000s. The initial development of emoji began in Japan, where miniature smiling faces and icons were standardized and incorporated directly into keyboards, which are widely available on mobile devices. Prior to this, people used combinations of simple characters such as “:-)” or “^ _ ^” to create emoji (emoticons) for faces.

Nevertheless, emoticons acquire the status of an official and universal way of communication between users only in 2010. It was then that emojis were added to Unicode, the global character encoding standard for nearly all written languages ​​in the world for computing systems. The Unicode Consortium, the body responsible for maintaining the Unicode standard, has accepted a proposal from a team of engineers from Google and Apple and has standardized these expressive characters.

Since then, emoji have been widely used by users as an integral part of the communication process, and, today, emoticons are a universal way of communication. And in recognition, in 2015, the Oxford Dictionary announced the thumbnail of the face with tears of joy emoji as the word of the year.

How to create an emoticon yourself?

The Unicode Consortium has developed and implemented a rigorous process for adding new emoji to Unicode. Each year, the Unicode Consortium reviews incoming proposals for new emoji. After a comprehensive selection, the best new images will be approved, turned into emoticons and published.

Since the submission process is public, literally anyone in the world can create and propose their own emoji for approval. In 2019, Jay Peters, a news writer for a computer technology website and formerly at Microsoft, published an article in which he shared his experience in developing and proposing two of his own emoticons: “yawning face” and “waffle “. Since then, both versions of the emoji image have been implemented in “Unicode” and are standard on operating systems and most e-mail applications.

Coming up with an idea for a new emoji

Before proceeding with the implementation of the procedure for forming an idea for a new emoticon, users must first check whether such an idea has already been presented earlier and submitted for consideration. The Unicode Consortium maintains a complete list of all emoticon registration requests. The Unicode Record Sheet contains both a list of successful bids and a list of rejected bids, indicating the reason the emoji were not approved. If users decide to offer a new emoticon idea and even have already submitted an application for consideration, then this process is not an automatic condition for disqualification for other applicants. And there is a possibility that this proposal will be rejected due to the recent approval of a similar appeal for another applicant.

Figuring out the concept of a custom proposal is not as easy as making an icon format for a future emoji. The Unicode Consortium has a set of selection factors that are used to evaluate user suggestions and form a decision whether to use the proposed idea for the subsequent transformation of the submitted application into a real emoji.

The consortium divides the selection criteria into two categories: factors for inclusion and factors for exclusion. The grounds for inclusion are:

Compatibility. Is emoji widely used on other social platforms? If the answer is yes, then the chances of this emoji being represented in Unicode are increased.

The expected level of use. How popular will the proposed emoji actually be, and what is the likely amount and frequency of its use? There are several indicators that can serve as evidence of the likely level of consumption. These include the frequency with which the emoji is used, its reusability, the ability to use it in sequence with other emoji, and the perceived ability to discover new possibilities.

Distinctive feature. Potential emoticons should have an individual clear visual representation, according to the format of which it is possible to unmistakably establish the underlying semantic designation.

Completeness. The proposed emoji should fill the gap that is present in the current library of ready-made emoji samples.

On the other hand, some of the factors influencing the decision to exclude a user proposal include the presence of repeated requests and petitions that are separately specific or insufficiently defined in their subject matter, the idea has already been presented, causes erroneous associations and a number of other justifications. Each of the possible reasons can significantly reduce the chances for users to successfully approve the submitted emoticon idea.

Submitting an offer

Once users have decided on the concept of the main idea and find a suitable option for implementation, covering and fully meeting all the criteria for selection, it is time to send the corresponding proposal. The Unicode Consortium has made specific recommendations for the preparation of a custom proposal, which must comply with the approved form, and include the following categories:

Identification. The name of the custom emoticon in a short form, such as “Party Emoji” or “Emoji Face with Moving Eyes”, which accurately associates it with the presented image, and contains keywords.

Images. Sample images of a custom emoji offer in color and black and white.

Location classification. Which category does the emoji belong to, for example, “Emoticons and Emotions” or “Animals and Nature”.

Selection factors. An abbreviated description of each of the selection criteria, including the inclusion and exclusion factors mentioned above.

For all selection factors, users must be able to provide substantial evidence and justification. This is especially true for the frequency of expected usage, where a job seeker needs to submit screenshots of search results for suggested emoji variations to Google Trends and Google Image Trends.

If users, at some point, need additional help, then all previous successful emoticon suggestions are stored on the “Unicode” site. And everyone can familiarize themselves with them, view and pick up new ideas to improve their own proposal.

After the proposal form is completed, users need to submit the document to the Unicode Consortium. Please carefully read the instructions on how to send your proposal by e-mail, as well as the requirements for the preferred document type and format, to avoid rejection of the proposed emoticons in the future.

Approval and implementation of a custom emoji

Depending on when users prepared and submitted their proposal containing a custom emoji, the time interval can be quite long, and the whole process can take a long time. Each proposal must go through three required steps in the approval process before the emoji becomes the accepted standard in Unicode:

Initial proposal. At this stage, the Emoji Subcommittee (“ESC”) in Unicode performs an initial review of the new proposal, verifies that the fields are completed, that the sample meets the selection criteria and, if there is a compelling reason, submits the proposal for approval to the Unicode Technical Committee or UTC “.

Consideration of “UTC”. On a quarterly (mid-quarter) basis, the Unicode Technical Committee reviews a filtered set of recommended proposals from the ESC subcommittee. After discussions, all accepted proposals receive the status of “preliminary candidates”. The annual meeting of the UTC committee in the second quarter decides which of the preliminary candidates are worthy of approval this year and transfer to the final list of “project candidates” for encoding in the Unicode release.

Processing of final candidates. After Unicode finally decides to implement emoji, emoji samples are sent to tech companies so they can create projects. They are later published in Unicode, become a permanent part of its standard, and applications begin to support the released emoji.

Ultimately, it can take more than a year from the initial stage of the creation process to the final approval and release of a new emoji before users can use their emoji in text messaging applications (eg WhatsApp, iMessage, etc.). etc.). However, this is a relatively short period of time, given that users will leave a significant mark on the Internet by providing a unique, proprietary, demanded and popular emoji for the general use. After all, if the proposed emoticon is selected for inclusion, then it will appear on every modern computer device in the world that supports the display of emoji: “iPhone”, mobile phones based on the “Android” operating system, personal computers running operating systems “Windows”, “Mac OS” and even “Linux”


With the development of personal computer devices and modern super-powerful software solutions that collectively provide the ability to constantly be in touch, the ways of users’ interaction with each other have significantly increased, allowing, through the use of various visualization tools, to significantly diversify and speed up the process of transmitting their messages.

Emoji pictures are one of the most popular and most attractive options for conveying user emotions, actions, or determining an attitude to ongoing processes. The types of emoticons included in the standard set of emojis, which are supported by all computer devices in the world, are annually expanded and supplemented with new samples. Based on the information presented in this article, each user can independently create and, in full compliance with the accepted selection criteria, achieve the approval of a new emoticon for its subsequent inclusion in the emoji standard, thereby expanding the list of used images and leaving significant footprint on the Internet

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