Redheads, superheroes, curly hair, and a pirate flag are just a few of the more exciting emoji that were, as of the week, officially approved for release as part of Unicode 11.0. This means that from here on out, various devices and platforms, from Twitter and Facebook to Samsung's Galaxy S9, can include the 62 new icons (157, if you count all the gender and skin tone variations) in their software releases. (If Apple sticks with its standard release schedule, you can expect the latest emoji to hit your iPhone's keyboard sometime this fall.)
As with every emoji release, there's an element of curiosity: How did Unicode make its decisions, some of which (really, a parrot emoji?) seem random in the larger scheme of essential messaging iconography?
In fact, there is a method to the emoji madness: Behind every successful candidate is a lengthy proposal advocating for its representation on keyboards around the world. Unicode's six-part submission form requires applicants to explain how frequently their emoji will be used, what makes it distinct, and the multiple ways it can be used.
All of these proposals are publicly available, and each is an interesting case study in an object's full history — which most submissions include — as well as the passion people feel about getting certain items the recognition and fame that comes with emoji inclusion.
Ahead, we highlight six of the funny, interesting, and, at times, poetic arguments made for this year's new emoji. You just missed the deadline to submit an idea for 2019, but if you want to put your emoji in the ring for 2020, head here to see the submission form.