Coloured Characters (was: 0027, 02BC, 2019, or a new character?)

Philippe Verdy via Unicode unicode at
Wed Feb 21 17:04:34 CST 2018

I'm not speaking about hieroglyphs, even if they are perfectly readable in
monochrome on monuments.

I was just saying that colorful **emojis** are just a nuisance and colors
in them do not add any semantic value (except possibly flags, skin tones
were added only to avoid a never-ending battle on ethnic biases in
implementations, but even there the disambiguation should make the country
name readable and accessible, and for skin tones most of the time they are
not meaningful at all!) except making them more visible and in fact look
spamming and needlessly distracting. Given that emojis are extremely
ambiguous, unreadable and mean actually everything and look very different
across implementations, their colorful aspect is also not semantically

On the opposite, colored in Arabic or hieroglyph texts is a a useful
emphasize and sometimes semantically significant (some rare old scripts
also used dictinctive colors): we are in a case similar to encoded semantic
variants for mathematics symbols. But here again color cause a severe
problem of accessibility and rendering on various surfaces (e.g. is the
paper/screen white or black ? if you cannot see the encoded color correctly
and it is interpreted verbatim, the text will not be readable at all; what
is really needed is a set of symbolic colors: normal color, color vaiant 1,
color variant 2, and Unicode can perfectly encode these as combining
diacritics !)

2018-02-21 20:54 GMT+01:00 Richard Wordingham via Unicode <
unicode at>:

> On Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:28:14 +0100
> Philippe Verdy via Unicode <unicode at> wrote:
> > I even hope that there will be a setting in all browsers, OS'es,
> > mobiles, and apps to refuse any colorful rendering, and just render
> > them as monochromatic symbols. In summary, COMPLETETY DISABLE the
> > colorful extensions of OpenType made for them.
> But hieroglyphs look so much better in colour!  What's more, they were
> meant to be read in colour.  If you want monochrome, you should make do
> with hieratic!
> On a more practical level, I've made a font that colours subscript coda
> consonants differently to subscript onset consonants for the purpose of
> proof-reading Northern Thai text.  It was a pleasant surprise to see
> colour-coded suggested spelling corrections when I used it on Firefox.
> I had installed the spell-checker for LibreOffice, which currently
> lacks the colour capability, but Firefox helped itself to it.
> So you may not like emoji, but the colour extensions have perfectly
> good uses.
> Richard.
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