Emojis are now becoming part of the whole concept of communication with different people. These are users from different parts of the world and from all walks of life. They are looking at emojis like families, or handshake, as an essential part of how they convey the message. Moreover, it represents their identity and culture.
With this, because of a continuous initiative to reflect human diversity, Google and Apple is to add a handshake emoji with multiple skins to reflect diversity of its users. There are various emojis that have already added this skin tone modifier but not the handshake. It is one of the characters that you cannot change the skin tone.
You might be thinking, how hard can it be to add emojis to the options or modify one?
Development Process of an Emoji
You have probably used other emojis that reflect multiple skin tones. Unfortunately, this handshake emoji still hasn’t made the cut yet to reflect that. The reason behind this is answered by Jeremy Burge, emoji historian and founder of Emojipedia. He explained the process through an article posted last year by The Next Web.
He explains that developing an emoji takes around two years to finish. What makes the handshake different is it includes two people. Basically, two hands. It is much easier to include a skin tone modifier in other emojis like clap emoji or girl emoji because it includes only one person. The skin tone modifier applies to the entire emoji. Burge added:
“This has been the main reason that until now all emojis with two or more people didn’t support skin tones in Unicode’s RGI list. Handshake requires new code points for each hand to support mixed skin tones, and this has been in the future planning since 2019.”Jeremy Burge, Emojipedia
Aside from the handshake, there are other emojis that haven’t added the skin tone modifier yet as of today. These emojis include the Wrestlers 🤼, People with Bunny Ears 👯, and Families 👪.
But this is no longer an issue this coming 2022.
What’s New with this Emoji?
According to Google, this new handshake emoji is years in the making. Their creative director for emoji, Jennifer Daniel, submitted a proposal way back 2019 to consider the addition of this multi-toned handshake. However, because of the complexity of the process, it usually takes two years. But as soon as the Unicode Consortium considered the suggestion of Daniel, the process started. Consequently, the struggles and changes the world experienced with COVID-19 also made the process longer.
And this coming 2022, it is about to take effect. Engadget explains that a new handshake character will be added which will allow you to modify the skin tone of both the left and right hands with 25 combinations. It will be added in the next release, Emoji 14.0.
This action is a part of the initiative of Google and Unicode Consortium to bring inclusion into the Unicode Standard, which are responsible for creating and developing emojis. This way, the inclusivity and diversity is much more reflected in conversations. Also, people get to convey the message clearly reflecting their identity and self.
Let’s all hope that this continues for us to produce relevant and genuine conversations from people all over the world.