Last night, Unicode announced the beta version of 2018’s emoji list, and there’s one proposed update that has nothing to do with adding new candidates: emoji direction.
Emojipedia says the ability to switch the direction of emoji has been a long-requested feature and might not affect all emoji, but only the ones that would “benefit from it most.” Consider the blog’s unfortunate sample graphic below, that uses the train, runner, and gun emoji.
The new Unicode document says of the change:
“Emoji with glyphs that face to the right or left may face either direction, according to vendor preference. However, that can cause a definite change in meaning when exchanging text across platforms. The following ZWJ mechanism can be used to pick an explicit direction.”
Ignoring the abundance of cringe above, the ability to flip emoji could definitely lend itself to conveying more subtle or pointed emoji messages. The pair of eyes that currently looks to the left, for example, would be one of my top picks for this. The shade I could impart if I could pick the direction!
Of course, in addition to this, the list of potential new emoji to be included is also ever evolving. Earlier possibilities that have been now trashed include Frowning Pile Of Poo and Grinning Face With Letters OK As Eyes, but still in the running are Mango, Face With Smiling Eyes And Party Horn And Party Hat, redheads (!), and Badger, which I am personally excited about so I can finally text the “Badger Badger Badger” song to someone entirely in emoji.
Final decisions about next year’s emoji list will be made at the Unicode Technical Meeting in January, and once published, should roll out on major platforms in the latter half of 2018.