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Only 31 new emojis will be introduced this year as approvals slow to a trickle

These emojis will have to make room for the new additions coming later this year.
TENGKU BAHAR
/
AFP via Getty Images
These emojis will have to make room for the new additions coming later this year.

In a new feat for humanity and art, it seems that we have finally reached peak emoji.

After countless rounds of new additions that included flora and fauna, as well as the valiant cowboy emoji, the amount of new symbols that will be added this year is a fraction of the numbers from years past.

The Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization that approves new emojis, approved just 31 this year, a quarter of the 112 from last year, and 10 times fewer than the approved amount from 2020, according to emojipedia.com.

Jennifer Daniel chairs the Emoji Subcommittee at the Unicode Consortium, and explains that in essence, there's less demand.

"When Unicode first started to encode emoji, there were only about 700 concepts in your keyboard," Daniel said. "And if you flash-forward to today, there's way over 3,000 of these tiny glyphs at your fingertips. What this means is it requires us to review proposals in a way that maybe we didn't have to do in the earlier days. The criteria for inclusion is much higher."

As for who made the cut? There are a few novel additions, like a moose, a blackbird, a goose and a jellyfish. Others feel more essential.

"The pink heart is one of those kinds of emojis that you think has already been there, surely," Daniel said. "Surely there has been a pink heart all this time. But no, there has not until today."

Another notable addition, the shake face, might help in reacting to shocking news. (Like emoji shortages.)

"You really could not express being shook until shake face. It also is fairly apt for those situations when you are experiencing either a literal earthquake or a metaphorical one, or perhaps you're just shaking your head back and forth," Daniel said.

According to emojipedia, the new batch of emojis will be released in September of this year, but are still pending final approval.

"One I was absolutely delighted to see ... was the plain pink heart. This is something that people have been asking for for quite some time," said Keith Broni, the editor in chief of Emojipedia, an emoji encyclopedia.

Emojipedia sends one member to sit on the Unicode Consortium board (which Broni explains does a lot more than just emojis, and is responsible for making sure all digital text works on devices, from Latin letters to Arabic numbers.)

Broni said the far smaller number of new emojis was, in part, because the committee wanted to make sure the new ones met their standards

As for how many emojis are too many? According to Daniel, the answer to that question is just another question: "When is a garden done growing?"

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Taylor Hutchison