There is no doubt that emoji are already become a global language which transcends nationality and culture, sometimes, an emoji can express some kinds of emotions or describe a situation more precisely. So far, though there are thousands of emojis exist, but still not enough, we need more emojis to perfect this “language”.

However, here is the question: can we create a new emoji by ourselves?

The answer is “Yes,anyone/any organization can submit a proposal for an emoji character.”

Before we submit a new emoji:

  • First of all, we need to know what is emoji. Emoji is not a picture, but a pictogram, a kind of character. In other words, what we do is to submit new character to a kinds of special characters.
  • Now you can make a form for emoji proposals, and send it to Unicode Consortium. Pay attention please: 1. You can not submit emoji proposals to companies like Apple, Microsoft or Google, you can only send it to Unicode Consortium; 2.Unicode Consortium only accepts complete proposal documents (including design plans, investigations and proposals), those simple suggestions is not acceptable.

A new emoji proposal needs to satisfy some of the requirements of the Unicode Consortium, and the application steps are also very complicated. You need to have excellent ideas of emoji and enough patience to make the proposal successful.

Requirements for the emoji you intended to submit:

For the emoji you intended to submit, it needs have 4 conditions: compatibility, high expected usage level, distinctiveness and completeness.

  • Compatibility: Is your emoji needed for compatibility with high-use emoji in popular existing systems, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Wechat?
  • For example, emoji Polar Bear 【🐻‍❄】,at the beginning, except for a team named "Climoji" has a polar bear sticker, there is no polar bear emoji appeared on any platform.

  • Expected usage level . The emoji you want to proposal mast have high expected usage level, otherwise consortium will not take it into consideration. The evidence of usage level must follow the format of Evidence of Frequency. The following must be present: Google Search, Bing Search, Google Video Search and Google Trends: Web Search & Image Search. The picture below shows the usage level data of polar bear.
  • At the same time, the applicant should elaborate and analyze whether this emoji contains metaphorical and symbolic usage. For example, Polar Bear can not only refer to the polar bear(mammal), but can also be used to refer to a charity organization called "Polar Bear Club", or the polar bear character in Minecraft.

    Secondly, can the candidate emoji be used in sequences? For example【🌋🌊⚡】can express an extreme weather, cold area could be represented by【🐻‍❄🏂🧣】.

    Finally, does this emoji represent something that is new and different? After all, it would be better to proposal an emoji for a new kind of animal rather than an emoji for a new breed of dog

  • Distinctiveness.. Except emotion emojis, you should explain how and why the emoji you propose represents a distinct, visually depictable entity. Meanwhile, The emoji image you supply will not be used in products, but instead needs to demonstrate that the emoji is distinct enough to be recognizable at typical emoji sizes, such as 18×18 pixels on mobile phone screens.
  • If a proposed emoji is not distinct enough from existing emoji (or sequences of emoji), either semantically or in appearance, or contains text or abstract symbols, your proposal might be turned down.

  • Completeness. For example, as for some systematics emojis like zodiac or sports, does the proposed emoji fill a blank in these types of emoji?

Among the above 4 conditions, compatibility and expected usage rate level are the most important factors.

However, even if the proposed emoji satisfies the above 4 conditions, it is still not enough. If this emoji has any of the following factors, your application may be rejected:

  • The emoji is applied too frequently, or it is applied through petitions, which it’s data are easy to fake.
  • Emoji is overly specific. For example, the dumpling emoji is now available, so similar food such as spring rolls, fried dumplings will be rejected because they are too precise and specific.
  • The emoji you want to propose is already can be represented by another emoji or sequence. For example, a crying baby can already be represented by 😢👶 CRYING FACE + BABY.
  • Logos, brands, UI icons, signage, specific people, specific landmarks, deities are unsuitable for encoding as characters.
  • Transient or faddish symbols are easy to be rejected.
  • If the emoji you want to propose is a flag, it proposal must meet special conditions. For details, please refer to the [Flags] section of the official document.
  • The emoji proposal form is incorrect and incomplete, or lacks corresponding data or attachments.

Note💡: Even if the emoji passes the application, its final official name and image may be different from the original proposal.

At the same time, before you are ready to propose an emoji, you need to make sure that the emoji has not been submitted or the application has not been rejected. Please refer to the Emoji Requests for details.

Some characters are already encoded in Unicode. If you want to propose this kinds of characters as an emoji, The timeline for these proposals is not as long as for new characters, since existing characters can be changed to be emoji or emoji sequences added on a shorter timeline. In addition, if the Unicode character is completely symbolic like Morse code, emojification is not recommended.

When the proposed emoji satisfies all the above conditions, you may have understood the limitations of emoji encoding. Please read enough amounts of application examples before deciding whether you really want to submit this emoji or not.

Form for Emoji Proposals and process

Anyone/any organization can submit a proposal for an emoji character, but only a small percentage are encoded. As long as the proposed emoji satisfies all the requirements and is sent to the committee in strict accordance with the format (PDF or HTML), it has a chance to be accepted.

For Example: The emoji of [Polar Bear]

    Proposal for Emoji: Polar Bear

    Submitter: name(s). Use [ ; ] between multiple authors.

    Date: When re-submitting revised documents, the document date must still be updated each time.

    CLDR Short Name: CLDR:Common Locale Data Repository.

    CLDR Keywords: Use [ | ] between multiple keywords, such as Bear | White | Snow | Polar | Ice | Arctic...

    Sort Location: In the Animal-Mammal category as a ZWJ option for Bear. After elephant🐘.

    Reference Emoji: Short name, such as [Elephant].

    💡One sample color image and one sample black&white image for each proposed emoji must be included in the proposal and in an attached zip file. The images at the top in two sizes: 18x18 and 72x72 pixels. And the images must have appropriate licenses so they can be used on the Unicode site, such as “public domain”, “licensed for non-commercial use”, “free to share and use”, or equivalent (CC: CC0, or BY **).


How to submit your proposal via email

If your document is over 6 megabytes or so, you can put it on the web and send a URL to the committee. If you submit HTML, body text should be 10 points, or 12 points at the largest; headings over 14 points are not necessary. And do not forget author, title, date, headers/footers, and page numbers.

When your proposal documents are all set, you can officially start to submitting your emoji. Send proposals to [[email protected]] to request that the documents be added to the agenda.

UTC Document Submission: (name of your topic) [email protected] UTC Document Submission: (name of your topic) Please consider the attached document for submission to the UTC. Email content...

How long will it take to approve

Proposals for new emoji characters must be submitted before March 31 of each year,proposals for emojification and sequences must be submitted before Sept 1 of each year to be considered for inclusion in the release of the Unicode Standard for the following year. The proposal is submitted to the Unicode Consortium and then referred to the Emoji subcommittee, which meets weekly by phone. So the week before the meeting is the deadline for submission.proposals are normally processed in the order in which they arrive, proposers will generally receive a response within five business days. If too many proposals are received at once, even submitted by the deadline still not guarantee that a proposal will be considered in time for the following year.

The proposal is submitted to the Unicode Consortium and then referred to the Emoji subcommittee, which meets weekly by phone. However, there is typically a very full agenda, and it can take up to 30 days (and sometimes longer) for the initial review of a new proposal.

During the meeting, emoji subcommittee will decide whether to submits your proposal to the UTC or not. After several times of meetings and discussions, if your proposal is accepted, it will become a candidate for a new emoji.

The following is the timeline for a typical successful proposal.

Date The progress of proposal
Y1Q1 Your emoji proposal is submitted to Unicode and referred to the Emoji subcommittee (ESC). After it goes through three revisions, and is then accepted by the Emoji subcommittee for forwarding to the UTC. No more than 5 emoji proposals submitted at one time.
Y1Q2&3 In these two quarters, 2 candidates will be eliminated.
Y1Q4 CLDR begins translation of the Emoji names and keywords, and decides a sort order.
Y2Q1 In another round of selection in this year, one of the characters is removed. CLDR removes the declined characters, and finalizes the names, keywords, and sort order of the final candidate emoji. Vendors begin design.
Y2Q2 After this quarter, The approved emojis are published in Unicode version X at the end of the quarter, and are included in the final data files.

According to the timeline of the Unicode Consortium, it takes about one and a half years for a new emoji from submission to implementation. However, due to COVID-19, the Unicode Consortium is not currently accepting emoji proposals. Submissions received before April 2021 will be returned to sender. The submission form and process will be changing during that time and submissions will resume after April 2, 2021.

An easier way to submit new emojis:

EmojiXpress has a platform called EmojiRequest, which can help users request new emojis. With this site or their iOS app, users can simply request the emojis they would like to see created next, and EmojiXpress will take care of the rest. So far, they have successfully created over 60 emojis. Using this platform can save you time and energy.

It should be noted that the submission for the new emoji has been changed in 2022, and now the proposal can only be submitted through the Unicode Emoji Submission Form.

That's all for making a new emoji! Hope this blog post can offer you some help🤗.