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  • Welcome to the all-time least popular episode of Half as Interesting.

  • So say you want to make an emoji, a new one.

  • I don't, but I wanted to make a video so I talked to a guy.

  • My name is Jeremy Burge.

  • I'm the founder of Emojipedia and the vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji subcommittee.”

  • (0:09) Jeremy's Wikipedia page says he's a “widely-regarded experton emojis while

  • my Wikipedia page saysnothing since I don't have one so I guess he's cooler

  • than me.

  • Being an Emoji expert means you know things like, “The ROFL emoji is rising every year.

  • So that's the laughing crying on its side, that's on the up.”

  • (23:24) Just like all fun technologies, Emojis originated

  • in Japan.

  • But originally, “They only worked on one type of phone and one type of phone network

  • and then all the other networks wanted to get on board and they just didn't work very

  • well across platforms.”

  • (1:10) Emojis quickly rose in popularity, but there was no one standard.

  • What could happen is you could send a picture of a boy or a girl and on the other end it

  • could end up a piece of cake or a piece of sushi.”

  • (3:45) It was chaos.

  • Essentially, when one phone sends an emoji, it doesn't send the actual image of an emoji,

  • it sends a code that corresponds to the image and so if one phone's codes were different

  • than another's, the wrong emoji could appear, but then the Unicode Consortium stepped in.

  • Their primary purpose is to make sure that all 136,755 characters in their standard can

  • be seen across every single computer and phone in the world.

  • Nowadays, however, 2,666 of those characters are emojis.

  • So anyone can submit a proposal for an emoji to the Unicode consortium.

  • They've got a bunch of criteria to make sure that it's going to meet the minimum

  • bar, as such.

  • You want to prove, to start with, that it doesn't already exist.”

  • (5:40) In addition, in a submission you have to prove that the proposed emoji will be frequently

  • used, is a distinct image that can be identified at the small size, is needed to fill a gap

  • in the emoji alphabet, is frequently requested, and is able to be shown visually.

  • A “I just forgot the name of a casual acquaintance I've known for years and called them 'bud'”

  • emoji likely would not get accepted since it's just too abstract.

  • There are also certain factors that will disqualify a candidate emoji.

  • For example, Unicode generally denies emojis that are too specific.

  • A “I went on StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson and now realize I have a resting nervous

  • face,” emoji would likely get denied for this reason.

  • For the same reason, they won't approve submissions for specific people, brands, or

  • locations.

  • There are, though, actually some existing emojis that violate this rule since some emojis

  • made it in only because they existed pre-Unicode.

  • For example, this Emoji exists of a statue outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo even though

  • an emoji of such a specific location would never be approved nowadays.

  • All those different criteria are addressed and compiled into a submission report by whoever

  • is proposing the emoji and then this is then sent to Unicode.

  • That's where Jeremy gets involved.

  • “I'm the vice-chair of the subcommittee which sounds more exciting than it is, to

  • be honest.

  • It's mostly an initial vetting on proposals that come in to make sure they're in good

  • order before they get taken to the real decision makers which is the technical committee meeting.”

  • (9:35) Essentially, the emoji subcommittee just decides whether a submission fulfills

  • the criteria.

  • Once it's approved that it at least meets the minimum criteria it goes to what's called

  • the Unicode technical committee and each company that's involved with Emojis such as Apple

  • or Google or Microsoftthey get a vote and if a decision needs to be made they can each

  • vote individually for an emoji or any text character to be approved.”

  • (6:50) The majority of the committee's time is actually spent on non-emoji matters making

  • decisions about how other characters should be encoded but with how frequently these emojis

  • are used, these are very important decisions.

  • Still today though, each company designs how emojis look for their respective devices.

  • Emojis are supposed to more or less look the same across platforms, but sometimes they

  • don't.

  • There was an emoji, the eye roll emoji that's meant to be, sort of, uhhh, but,

  • for whatever reason on Samsung phones it looked really happy so a Samsung user could send

  • you what they thought was a happy face and they'd say, 'hey do you want to catch

  • up later on, happy face' and then you'd get a message that says, 'hey do you want

  • to catch up later on, uhhh.'”

  • (5:08) In an ideal world the standardization of emojis would extend to their actual design,

  • but right now that's impossible since emojis are copyrighted by their respective designers.

  • That also means that pretty much every single piece of emoji clothing or merchandise you've

  • ever seen was illegal including the shirt that Jeremy was wearing during this interview.

  • If you want to create an illegal emoji merch store, though, please don't use Squarespace.

  • There's probably something in their terms of service against doing that, but if you're

  • doing legal stuff, you should absolutely have a Squarespace website.

  • If you run any sort of business or hope to, you should have a professional internet presence

  • because how else are people going to find you?

  • In a phonebook?

  • If you know absolutely nothing about design, like me, don't worry because Squarespace

  • has amazing templates that pretty much make it impossible to build a bad looking website.

  • Their website builder does, however, have powerful customization tools so you can make

  • exactly what you want to make.

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B1 US emoji emojis unicode squarespace jeremy submission

How to Make an Emoji

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    Samuel posted on 2018/05/14
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