Late last year, a Kickstarter campaign raised $11,000 to make the case that there should be an official dumpling emoji. And next year, it sounds like we may just get one. As The Next Web spotted, the Unicode Consortium — which is responsible for creating and standardizing emoji — has accepted the dumpling as a candidate for 2017. It's also accepted emoji for a fortune cookie, a takeout box, and chopsticks, all of which were proposed by the group behind the dumpling.
Food, icons, and other emoji need to be diverse, too
It's always fun to see the new emoji coming down the road, but the addition of the dumpling speaks to a larger point about which foods, symbols, and other iconography get represented on our keyboards. While the Kickstarter campaign's basic goal was to get a dumpling emoji, it was also trying to make a broader point about how the emoji selection process works. There's a small and not very diverse team that gets to propose and approve new emoji, which that can lead to homogenized selections. So the campaign isn't just trying to get a dumpling added, it's trying to make Unicode more aware of its selection process.
The group behind the Kickstarter campaign, Emojination, intends to use the money it raised to join Unicode, giving it a voice in proceedings. "We want to create a system where popular emoji requests ... can systematically bubble up and be transformed into proper proposals for the Unicode Consortium," Emojination writes. It doesn't appear to have created this system or joined Unicode just yet, but Emojination did update its campaign to note that it met with Unicode to discuss the dumpling (current design seen left), as well as its other three proposals. Unicode certainly seems aware that this is an area where it needs work, and it appears to be receptive. After calls for more diverse human emoji in 2014, it added support for different skin tones the following year.
Though the dumpling is only a candidate for inclusion — meaning it could still be rejected — it seems likely that it will receive final approval. Unicode tends to approve most emoji that make it through the initial proposal process and onto its candidates list, especially when they're popular requests like the taco or dumpling. Unfortunately, the dumpling emoji won't be voted on until this time next year, and the emoji approved at that point in time won't be official until June 2017. And even then, we have to wait for Apple, Google, and other companies to add support for the new emoji to their keyboards. So while the dumpling is very much on its way, it'll likely be a while.
Right now, Unicode has a total of 79 emoji candidates in front of it. You can see them all here.