Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Emoji.

  • For some of us, it's a second language.

  • But did you know anyone can make an emoji?

  • You don't need funding.

  • You don't need to know someone on the inside.

  • You just need a really good 10-page paper.

  • Emoji is actually a Japanese word that means "pictogram" or "pictograph."

  • SoftBank, a Japanese wireless carrier, created the first known emoji set in 1997.

  • When Apple launched its iOS 2.2 in November 2008, it had to create its own emoji so any emoji sent from SoftBank customers would show up on iPhones.

  • The company gave the task to three designers.

  • And so, when I was there, I just openly asked, "What is an emoji?"

  • And they told me, "Oh, it's like an illustration, and you're gonna be drawing about 480 of them with your mentor."

  • And I was like, "Oh, all right, well, here I go for three months making these illustrations."

  • Fast-forward to 2019.

  • Thousands of emoji have been added, depictions of existing emoji have been changed, and now anyone can propose an emoji.

  • The first step is to submit your proposal to the Unicode Consortium.

  • It's a nonprofit organization that sets the standard for how text is represented and displayed across various programs and pieces of software.

  • The Unicode Consortium deals with about 50 emoji proposals a year.

  • That might not sound like a lot, but it's because most of the proposals don't even make it past the first round.

  • Why not?

  • Well, you have to design an icon that still looks like a redwood tree, or whatever you're interested in, even at extremely small size, because we use emoji in text.

  • And that's where a lot of proposals just fall flat immediately.

  • Proposers also need to make sure their emoji align with Unicode's 13 mandatory selection factors, turning their proposals into 10-page documents that include an overall explanation of the emoji, reasons why it's needed, and data justifying its existence.

  • So if you want to have a strong proposal, one, it should be an emoji that people will use frequently, often, and that a large number of people will use.

  • Two, it has to be in that sweet spot of being specific enough to warrant a separate image and not general enough to be confused with other things that are not that emoji.

  • That's Sebastián Delmont.

  • He successfully proposed the flatbread emoji.

  • He's also an active member of Emojination, a community of emoji enthusiasts that helps get many emoji proposals approved, like the hijab and the dumpling.

  • Once your proposal is ready, you submit it to Unicode via email, but the review process takes about a whole year.

  • Why so long?

  • Well, it needs to be approved from different committees within Unicode.

  • Here's the journey your proposed emoji takes after it's been submitted to Unicode.

  • First, the Emoji Subcommittee will review and refine proposals with those who submitted them.

  • Some proposals may get rejected, but proposals that do meet all the selection factors will get passed to the Unicode Technical Committee.

  • This committee finalizes everything that will go into the Unicode Standard, like assigning a universal code for each emoji.

  • Six months in, the Draft Candidates list is created, which lists all the emoji that will be moving forward.

  • Vendors including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook will all see the list and weigh in on the designs.

  • In the final three months, Unicode's Common Locale Data Repository will establish a name for the emoji and record the name in languages other than English.

  • Finally, the last step: designing!

  • In the first quarter of the second year, the final candidate list will be sent to all the vendors to start designing.

  • Each vendor has their own style guide to follow.

  • Any time a designer starts an emoji, they read the proposal, they look at the reference icons, and they confer with experts on the subject.

  • For the case of the deaf emoji, we talked to the CEO of the National Association of the Deaf.

  • We look at it very, very tiny and we say, "OK, are those legible when they're small?"

  • And, of course, we try to anticipate what other folks are doing, which is why we talk to all of our friends in the Emoji Subcommittee.

  • And that's sort of the process for an emoji.

  • Once all the designs are finalized, vendors will roll out the new emoji set, usually around the time they update their operating systems.

  • Apple usually does it in the fall, around the same time iOS gets updated.

  • From start to finish, it could take almost two years before you see your emoji on your devices.

  • So, if you have an idea, start working on it now.

  • And pro tip: The best time to submit is the beginning of each year.

  • And when I came to the US, I didn't speak the language, but I ended up drawing stick figures to sort of express my ideas and also be understood.

  • And so working on the emoji decades later was really ironic, because it's kind of doing that same thing of bridging those language barriers and having everyone understand one another.

  • I think that's really beautiful.


Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US emoji unicode proposal submit softbank consortium

How Emoji Are Made

  • 4365 186
    Mackenzie posted on 2019/09/25
Video vocabulary