Thoughts on working with the Emoji Subcommittee (was Re: Thoughts on Emoji Selection Process)

William_J_G Overington via Unicode unicode at
Sat Aug 18 09:13:09 CDT 2018

James Kass wrote:

> Quoting from:


> "◦Simple words (“NEW”) or abstract symbols (“∰”) would not qualify as emoji."

Well, that is quite clear. In order for abstract emoji to become encoded, that rule would need to be either removed, or made waivable in some instances at the discretion of the Unicode Technical Committee.

> Also, in the section "Selection Factors for Exclusion", the part headed "L. Exact Images" would seem to rule out any such abstractions.

Hmmm, maybe not.

What is stated in the document is as follows.

> Emoji are by their nature subject to variation in order to have consistent graphic designs for a full set. Precise images (such as from a specific visual meme) are not appropriate as emoji; images such as GIFs or PNGs should be used in such cases, instead of emoji characters.

The designs that I have produced for abstract emoji of personal pronouns could be drawn, whilst each retaining enough of their shape information to still convey the intended meaning, in, say, the style of the Comic Sans font. So the designs that I produced are not necessarily subject to that ruling; yet I do need to add that the designs that I produced are somewhat constrained against as much variation as is possible for many emoji. Yet the designs that I produced have about as much flexibility as to glyph design as do letters of the English alphabet.   

> Once an emoji is released, it is typically used for a wide variety of items that have similar visual appearance.

Well, if some people use the same code point for a variety of things then that is a matter for them! One can only do so much in trying to convey meaning without distortion of meaning.

Referring to the designs in the following document,

some readers may be interested to know of how I arrived at the general structure of those designs.

It all goes back to when I was new to learning French.

The present tense of the verb être ("to be") was set out something like in the text diagram below, though the underscore characters are added here by me so as to try to produce a fairly reasonable display in a text diagram that may become displayed in a variety of fonts. Hopefully the diagram will look good with a monospaced font.

je suis ______ nous sommes
tu es ________ vous êtes
il est _______ ils sont
elle est _____ elles sont

So horizontally there is singular and plural, and vertically there is first person, second person and then third person on each of two rows for two genders.

So my designs are based on that layout.

One square for singular, two squares horizontally side by side for plural.

The location of the square or squares is then upper left corner for first person, middle left not in any corner for second person, and lower left corner for third person.

Then there are a few additional lines for various third person personal pronouns so as to distinguish male from female and from both genders together, together with a slightly anomalous location of a square at lower middle not in any corner for the personal pronoun 'one'.

William Overington

Saturday 18 August 2018

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