Unicode Consortium recently announced in a blog that it has shortlisted 179 candidates, which has over 61 character plus variants, for the next year’s release. For the uninitiated, the Unicode Consortium is the organisation that regulates the emoji. “These are the short-listed candidates for Emoji 12.0, which is planned for release in 2019 Q1 together with Unicode 12.0”, the blog added.

Chatting has become the preferred mode of communication for many and emojis play an important part in that. The popularity of chatting can be attested by the fact that Whatsapp, a popular chatting app, alone has around 1.5 billion active users across the globe. So in order to cater to such a diverse population, emojis need to be more representative and Unicode Consortium has decided to do just that.

The majority of changes in the shortlisted emojis include representative emoji for a person with hearing impairment, changes in the service animal vest to safety vest, a service dog emoji and changes to the names and ordering for various characters. The biggest positive change though is inclusion of 55 character emojis that represent couples of different genders and skin tones.

The list of draft candidates will be reviewed and finalised in the next meeting, which is scheduled to be held in September, Unicode Consortium said in a blog post. “The list of draft candidates will be reviewed and finalized in the next UTC meeting, this coming September. Feedback is solicited on short names, keywords, and ordering.

“Additionally, eight “emoji provisional candidates” for 2020 have also been added which includes ninja, military helmet, mammoth, feather, dodo, magic wand, carpentry saw and a screwdriver, it said.