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Ralf Herrmann

Skin color Emoji coming

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Ralf Herrmann

Encoding meets politics—looks like it’s already implemented and the next versions of Mac OS X and OS X will use unrealistic yellow skin colors as default and then 5 skin tone versions per character. 

What do you think about it?

I already wrote about it here and here is the Unicode proposal

emojis-500-1.jpg

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Riccardo Sartori

The only upside I can see in this is that it highlights the advantages of Microsoft’s approach to multicolour fonts, thus there’s a slight chance it can be more widely adopted.

EDIT: that said, to add some humour, yellow stylised faces will always remind me of Lego minifigures.

Also, can I have a little green man instead of the grey one?

Edited by Riccardo Sartori
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Ralf Herrmann
On 26 February 2015 at 1:49 PM, Riccardo Sartori said:

… yellow stylised faces will always remind me of Lego minifigures.

Or the Simpsons. 

But even there, the yellow color isn’t meant as “no human skin color”, but clearly represents what we consider “white” skin in the real world. 

simpson_zeichen.jpg

 

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Riccardo Sartori

I’m sorry for the possibly off-topic digression. 

On 27 February 2015 at 10:49 AM, Ralf Herrmann said:

there, the yellow color isn’t meant as “no human skin color”, but clearly represents what we consider “white” skin in the real world.

That sounds true regarding The Simpsons (and, perhaps, to a lesser extent, for Lego* too), but in that particular case it was a deliberate choice.

There are other elements, visual and historical, to consider regarding why yellow has been used as “skin” colour** for non-human-but-anthropomorfised characters.

For example, maximum visibility through colour contrast:

smiley.thumb.png.bf2607c9c1ab3d75964d6d5 pacman.thumb.png.908a0c6e7d9be5535a80107* Compare with this: radiation.thumb.png.d21b99a778a507595aa3

Long-established historical precedents:

sun.thumb.png.f69561c343f1fc3124e5cdc91e moon.thumb.png.f915d066eaf0e0d36d399209b and also Kolobok!

* A factor to also take into consideration, most notably in Lego’s and Pac-Man’s cases, is technical limitations in faithful colour reproduction, which also applies to low-cost printing (which is why old comics’ characters have yellow shoes instead of brown ones).

** Of course, it could be argued that, in any case, yellow is a light skin colour. 

 

 

smiley.png

pacman.png

radiation.png

sun.png

moon.png

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Ralf Herrmann

Emoji-iOS-8.3-Beta-4.jpg

Current state in in the iOS beta. http://www.macrumors.com/2015/03/25/ios-8-3-beta-4-emoji-changes/

So a yellow skin is supposed to mean “no specific skin color”, and this golden (isn’t it blond?) hair also means “no specific hair color”‽ That’s exactly this kind of pandora’s box I warned about … :sad:

Well, at least there are now lots of emoji to show “scary alien creatures from a nightmare”.  

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Riccardo Sartori

I notice a severe lack of redheads...

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Riccardo Sartori
On 24 March 2015 at 2:14 PM, Ralf Herrmann said:

at least there are now lots of emoji to show “scary alien creatures from a nightmare”.  

village+of+the+damned+2.jpg

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Ralf Herrmann

By the way: Here are more emoji suggested for Unicode 8, scheduled for june 2015:
http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr51/#Emoji_Candidates

The cultural/political struggle is apparent there as well. Some types of food are added (e.g. hot dog, taco), but how can that ever be representative for the world? “Symbols of Religious Significance” are suggested. But who decides which religion or religious symbol is worthy for Unicode? 

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Riccardo Sartori

The cultural/political struggle is apparent there as well. Some types of food are added (e.g. hot dog, taco), but how can that ever be representative for the world? “Symbols of Religious Significance” are suggested. But who decides which religion or religious symbol is worthy for Unicode? 

​As I see it, the major struggle for Unicode is between a codification of the actual existing glyphs, and their rationalisation, the latter historically leading to all sort of problems, from apostrophes to small caps, to dingbats, etc.

That said, I never thought bringing emojis to Unicode was a good idea (while I’m still waiting for a proper encoding of Genji-mon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Genji_chapter_symbols_groupings_of_5_elements.svg )

To add a last thought on skin colours, just add a colour wheel already! 

Or license the bulk of Pantone swatches and make art: http://humanae.tumblr.com

 

Edited by Riccardo Sartori

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Ralf Herrmann

Yeah, I guess they could have also used a Jackson skin color scale. :grinning:

 

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Ralf Herrmann

And Unicode 9 Emoji are also already proposed, including more political correctness inclusions like “mother christmas”.

 

 

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Riccardo Sartori
On 22 May 2015 at 6:47 PM, Ralf Herrmann said:

And Unicode 9 Emoji are also already proposed, including more political correctness inclusions like “mother christmas”.

And a Prince!

prince_la_clau.jpg *

Would this mean we will have the Symbol in Unicode 10?

* As I already noted, with all the striving at political correctness, female and male characters are still distinguished by their stereotypically pink/red or (light) blue coloured clothing (see also above).

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Ralf Herrmann

As I already noted, with all the striving at political correctness, female and male characters are still distinguished by their stereotypically pink/red or (light) blue coloured clothing (see also above​).

​Which isn’t surprising and shows why these “political correctness corrections” just wont work. Symbols are meant to be, well symbols. A simple (→ simplified), recognizable representation of objects or living things. For that to work, they must be (stereo-)typical in order to work. Take everything that is stereotypical away from the symbols for man and woman for example and you won’t be able to draw them at all or they won’t be recognizable at all. 

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Riccardo Sartori

“The candidate list for Unicode 9 is taking shape, with the final list of new emojis scheduled for approval in mid-2016.”

Code name: The North-American Takeover :winking:

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Ralf Herrmann

Colbert talks about the Emoji selection process: 

 

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Riccardo Sartori

Just to add some context, the quotes shown in the video are from this Time article.

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Riccardo Sartori
On 29/2/2016 at 8:05 AM, Ralf Herrmann said:

New Unicode proposal for additional variations like gender and hair color

And at least one actually useful:* direction (even if I think a 4, or even 8 point implementation would have been better).

2 hours ago, Ralf Herrmann said:

and a thick black outline

Which make them better suitable for less-than-full-color enviroments. I like it ☺, ☞ they look more typographic. ☜

* I remember a discussion here on Typography.Guru, regarding emoji direction, but cannot find it again.

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Ralf Herrmann

 

 

Big emoji update rolled out for the Facebook messenger:

 

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