After Apple and Google suggested the Unicode Consortium add skin tones to emoji, more and more icons have evolved to become more inclusive. But there has been one notable exception to this trend: the handshake emoji. He’s one of the only characters you can’t add skin tone to – for reasons we’ll get to shortly. Fortunately, that is about to change.
When the Unicode consortium deploys Emoji 14.0 somewhere in 2022, it will include a new handshake character that will allow you to change the skin tones of the left and right hands for a total of 25 different combinations. Getting to the point where you’ll have so much flexibility with the handshake emoji has been a long journey for the Unicode Consortium and the person pushing the update.
Last year, The next web spoke with Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge about the process. From start to finish, it can take up to two full years for an emoji to develop. What made the handshake particularly difficult was that it involves two people. The Unicode Consortium could have updated it earlier, but a limitation in its coding modifiers would have had hands sharing the same complexion. And while some platforms have taken this approach, most have decided to wait until unicode adds support for mixed skin tones. The organization has been developing this feature since the release of Emoji 12.0.
COVID-19 has added a wrinkle to everything. Jennifer Daniel, Google’s creative director for emoji, first offered to update the handshake in 2019. After accepting his suggestion, the Unicode consortium decided to include it in Emoji 14.0, which they had planned to publish in 2021. But like with so much more last year, the pandemic has caused a delay. Now that things are back on the right track, you should see emoji on your phone next year.
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