TechCrunch decides: The best and worst emoji of Unicode 10.0

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TechCrunch decides: The best and worst emoji of Unicode 10.0

The always reliable Emojipedia (they have one job and they do it well (actually it’s a complex beat)) has posted the final list of emoji that will be included in the Unicode 10.0 release this June. There’s a bunch of great stuff in here if you like fantasy creatures and inclusion. But there are a couple clunkers, too. Let’s look at the best and worst of today’s emoji crop.

(Note that these illustrations are just Emojipedia’s best guess at how they might be executed — these are largely in the iOS style, which I frankly can’t stand but is also the most iconic.)


Sauropod: GOOD

Prehistoric animals have always been sorely underrepresented in the Emoji list, and the insult is twofold when you consider the recent exoneration of the Brontosaurus and its complicated path toward real dinosaurhood. Bravo to Unicode for taking the brave step of including this important thunder lizard. T-rex is cool, too, but I think we all knew that was coming.


Coconut: GOOD

Summer will be hitting when these emoji do, for those of us on the top side of the planet anyway, so it’s good to have this, “a very hydrating and tropical emoji,” says Kate. It also serves as a crude bowl emoji if you are a survivalist and love making your own out of bark and lining it with wax.


Face With One Eyebrow Raised: BAD

Emojipedia gives this “AKA Colbert Emoji,” but I was immediately reminded of this meme from a while back where every CG Dreamworks character makes the same blandly irreverent expression, as if to say, look, I’m approachable but also edgy. Seriously though, this emoji looks like it will mostly be used in unfriendly ways rather than fun, creative ones. Also the eyes are different shapes and it bugs me.


Face With Finger Covering Closed Lips: GOOD

Depending on the situation, the shush gesture can be joking, serious, conspiratorial, psychotic and much more. People will be using it a lot in one-emoji responses on Twitter, I think. A future classic, like thinking face and peach.


Man/Woman Climbing: GOOD

This was rumored to be a “person” climbing emoji, but as it is, it’s just another good example of making sure representations of activities are inclusive of all users — this illustration only has yellow, but the actual emoji will have skin tones.

Taylor is thankful for this one, since “I always have to use the caterpillar + the mountain in combination, it rarely comes across.” I can’t imagine why! ⛰️🐛


Weird Smilies: BAD

Maybe it’s just the execution of these particular items, but they rub me the wrong way. The barfing guy is just way too graphic. And it’s always going to be used to mean “gross” in a horrible way. The wonky eye guy, I don’t know what to say, it looks like it just drank two bottles of Robitussin. It could be a button they sell at Hot Topic and that’s grounds for dislike. The “mind blown” one looks like it’s wearing a chef’s hat with little clouds of steam. I’d use it to say I’m cooking, but that’s wrong.

They should have included three more dinosaurs instead of these: pterodactyl, triceratops and stegosaurus or maybe a velociraptor face. You have to agree those would have been way better.


Hipster Man/Woman: GOOD

It was really thoughtful of Unicode, and indicates foresight, to be inclusive of this embattled yet growing group. I live in Seattle and having emoji that actually resemble the people here, bangs, staffs and all, is heartwarming.

Skin tone sliders are available, of course, but curiously there’s no option for facial tattoos or astrological sign. They must be coming later.


Country Subdivision Flags: GOOD

Emoji are wonderful in that they have been embraced across cultures and languages — albeit with different interpretations. People in Uruguay, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, Pakistan and Nigeria all get to see more or less the same symbols and could conceivably communicate solely over emoji, which honestly sounds like a great party game.

The ability to fly the flag of your county, territory, province, region, etc. is a great option. It reinforces the international — nay, global — nature of emoji.

The only issue here is that vendors will have to support like 5 million custom images, so there might be some issues across systems and platforms. Hopefully we’ll work it out.

(I think that Scotland flag is going to get a workout this next year or two, in particular.)


Winter Clothes: BAD

Let me be more specific: It’s not that I don’t like winter clothes — I wear them exclusively — it’s that these clothing emoji are going to be boring.

The colors (not necessarily what you see here) won’t be selectable, so you’ll be stuck with whatever shade Apple or Samsung or Facebook selects when you want to say you got a new scarf, or when you’re sharing your outfit on Twitter. That’s a disaster. And if the coat isn’t cute, no one is going to use it. I’m just saying.


Non-gendered People: VERY GOOD

I noted that the flags acknowledged the global nature of the communications system. But identity goes the other direction too, and gender is a complex construct that has huge differences between cultures and generations. Gendered emoji are great, but not everything — or everyone — is gendered or needs to be (Emojipedia wrote a good post about this). Having emoji that represent not a man or a woman but a person is an important step toward the medium being truly representative.