Emojis have been the definitive metaphors of the mobile world since 1999, and 20 years later, the sixth major emoji update since 2014 introduces a further 59 distinct new emojis (75 if you take gender variations into account) to the mix.
The new emojis include a flamingo (for those days when you’re feeling graceful) a sloth (for when you’re lazy) a skunk and garlic (make what you will of these!).
After Apple announced that it is looking into including accessibility emojis like guide dogs, wheelchairs and hearing aids, these are also on the cards in the latest emoji update. These are but one type of emoji which reflect the socio-political circumstances of the world today, and the new list also includes more gender inclusive couples, as well as more skin tone mix options for couples.
One of the emojis that caused a significant stir when it was announced is the so-called period emoji, which is little more than a drop of blood. It should be mentioned that the Unicode Consortium didn’t expressly refer to the drop of blood emoji as a period emoji, but the reaction from women everywhere has been very positive.
The introduction of the drop of blood emoji is the result of a concerted effort by the UK-based girls rights organisation Plan International, who submitted a number of different designs to the Unicode Consortium for inclusion in its latest release of emojis. This was done to try and destigmatise the conversation about periods, after a survey done by Plan International UK found that half of women between 18 and 34 years believed that an emoji would help them talk about periods. Ultimately, the decision was made to include the drop of blood, which was designed in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant.
Emojis are quickly becoming a language in their own right, and it is interesting how they quite literally paint a picture of the society that they are used in. For a full breakdown of all 75 new emojis, have a look at the video below.