Some colossal works do not arrive with a clap of thunder, a rending of the earth, or a smiting of cities. Some we register only as a shuffling of papers. An engineer or bureaucrat files some documents, fills out a couple forms, checks the final technical specs, hits publish—and at once the world is changed forever.
So it was today, when the non-profit Unicode Consortium announced its new version, Unicode 7.0. The unicode standard dictates how modern computing devices turn code into letters. It’s a complex set of commands that translates code into letters. (At its most rudimentary, this system tells your phone or laptop that “01100001” means a.) A new unicode standard—this is version 7.0—usually means especially good things for languages that don’t use the standard Roman alphabet. This particular release, for instance, includes the new Russian currency sign and improved directions for writing in the Indic languages.
But this release also brings gifts for speakers of all languages, for beyond letters and accounting signs, something else springs from unicode: emoji. That’s right—with today’s new unicode standard comes the description of new types of emoji.
These are, to my mind, the 10 most exciting ones.
Before I begin, an important caveat: We don’t know exactly what they look like yet. Just as an “a” in Helvetica looks different from an “a” in Times New Roman, different emoji fonts change the appearance of emoji. The unicode symbol called 1F383—which looks like a smiling jack o’lantern—looks different on the Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices.