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Graphical emoji are killing Unicode

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/08/05

Unicode is about Glyphs that are used in writing. Have you ever seen the emoji on the right being written like this?

This has been bothering me a while and gets worse over time.

According to: Microsoft just changed its toy gun emoji to a real pistol:

Looks like Microsoft and Apple may not be on the same page about firearm emojis afterall. Right after Apple changed its gun emoji to a water pistol in iOS 10, Microsoft replaced its toy pistol emoji with an actual revolver.

While Apple and Microsoft have gone back to edit their symbols, Google continues to use a pistol in Android keyboards and doesn’t appear to have plans to change this. None of the companies in question have adjusted their knife, sword, bomb, poison and coffin emojis, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When vendors start prescribing how emojis must look like (influenced by all sorts of emotions) without the user allowing to choose (via a font – that’s what fonts are for!) how they look then it invalidates the whole Unicode principle:

Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems.

These emoji aren’t text and should be gone from the Unicode standard before they can do more harm.

Will the next step be that vendors define their own colours for certain characters in fonts? For Windows Times New Roman A becomes red, B green, C yellow, but in Courier New we’ll permute these colours and all Operating Systems and Versions will do different random colour choices.

–jeroen

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