Ah, emojis. So often the savior of text conversations lacking the pizzazz of real human interaction. For those who prefer these small illustrative symbols to the labors of typing, you’re in luck – they’re about to get a lot more expressive.
Unicode, which sets industry standards for software writing systems, announced Monday the addition of more than 250 new emojis to its 7.0 version update.
Among the new emojis are images for a spider, a fax machine, and a hand making the Star Trek “live long and prosper” symbol – how people communicated without it before, nobody knows.
The update also includes nearly 3,000 new characters and additions to better facilitate languages from North America, Asian countries, and African countries, according to the Unicode Consortium.
In the past year, emojis sparked controversy over the lack of diversity featured in the emoji character set. A Fast Company post noted the “overwhelmingly caucasian” nature of emojis. And a petition on dosomething.org, signed by 10,000 people, called out Apple for failing to include more diverse icons in its emoji keyboard.
“Of the more than 800 emojis,” the petition reads, “the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban. There’s a white boy, girl, man, woman, elderly man, elderly woman, blonde boy, blonde girl and, we’re pretty sure, Princess Peach. But when it comes to faces outside of yellow smileys, there’s a staggering lack of minority representation.”
In response, an Apple spokeswoman told MTV Act in March that Apple “is working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.” But she noted that Apple’s emoji characters “are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms.”
Although the Unicode images appear as simple, colorless drawings, as The Guardian notes, manufacturers could build on these new images to fix diversity issues in the emoji set.
2012 was the last time a major addition was made to the emoji set, when Apple introduced gay and lesbian couples as emojis for its iOS 6 update.