moving to Seattle and emoji classification 2: the new batch

Preparing for a cross-country move, it turns out, is extremely time-consuming, even when 1) you’re unemployed and 2) someone else is handling a lot of the logistics. Kudos to those of you who have done it without assistance. I feel like I spend hours every day on the phone with various people, making appointments, cleaning closets, tying up loose ends, doing research. This cross-country move also marks the first time my boyfriend and I will be living together, and merging our respective cat households. We each have 2 cats. Moving 4 cats makes the process infinitely more complicated but we are just not willing to give up any of the cats so: here we go, into crazy cat people-dom.

But in my spare time I still find moments here and there to think about the new emoji classification system. I did not mention in my previous post that I’m specifically looking at the iPhone here – I can’t speak to any other device, this is purely my own observation from spending way too much time making emoji rebuses.

The new classification system tries harder to be more “organized” but I’m not sure it succeeds. First, another summary before I get into any actual comparison.

Icons across the bottom, and emoji order generally: The order of these is more or less the same with a few changes. Begins with the clock or “frequently used”, goes into faces and human features, followed by nature, food, celebration, activity, travel & places, and objects & symbols. The icon images have changed a little – a smiley face stands for People, an evergreen tree for Nature, a burger and drink for Food & Drink, a party horn blowing confetti for Celebration, a stick figure running for Activity, a car in front of a building for Travel & Places, and a collage of four symbols (a musical note, an ampersand, a percent sign, and another symbol that I actually have no idea what it is – help? Seems like it could be either a mathematical symbol or an electrical symbol) which stands for Objects & Symbols.

As with the previous system, the reasoning seems to be more or less the same. “General” human activities and emotions are first shown as yellow smilies, and then we get into families and careers (sorta?) as denoted by headgear. These people are yellow but in cases where there’s a single person shown, you can hold down your finger on the image and have your choice of skin tone.

Now with diversity
Now with diversity

With the multi-person images (like the families), yellow is the only option for skin color. Note that the only career headgear options for women, as in the world of Barbie, are Royalty (crown) and Bride (veil) while male characters get a strange melange of both careers and hat/hair choices: Random Crewcut Dude, Police Officer, Turban Guy (famously known before as the Only Brown-Skinned Emoji), etc. Also, now you can have two males or two females kissing or having a little heart between them (before I think there were same-sex couples holding hands, though I can’t be positive since I can’t find an image of the last version before the most recent update — although in the old version shown in the previous post, there’s definitely only an opposite-sex couple holding hands).

For some reason I feel like Objects and Symbols now is way more confusing than it used to be, and I’m not positive there’s a real reason for that because it seems to be about as much of a dumping ground now as it was before, but in my next post I’ll get into actual comparison between the two.

To jog my memory for next time I want to make sure to talk about Confusing Symbols or, symbols I’ve seen used to mean two different things; trouble finding emojis in the new system; overlapping classification; and masters of emoji art. I know you can’t wait!!!


emoji keyboard classification

There have been a lot of internet goings-on about the new emoji keyboard, ranging from praising its more racially-inclusive icon options to those who apparently can’t handle change. As a library nerd naturally I’m thinking about the new classification system. This is going to take a few posts probably but I want to start exploring it here.

Here’s an image I found of the old keyboard. It is actually extremely difficult to find the 2014 complete keyboard, this one is older meaning it lacks the cats, the family icons, and probably a few others too, but I think it still works well enough for this purpose. Image found here. Also if you can send me screenshots of the most recent emoji keyboard prior to the switch – would you?

The old emoji keyboard.
The old emoji keyboard.

The old classification system used a simple picture band to separate the icons into 5 main categories:

The old selection bar.
The old selection bar.

The clock stands for “recently used” – that still exists in the new version. The first deliberate category is the Smiley Face, standing in for “generic” human activities and faces. (I say “generic” here to mean sort of basic human emotions and actions that don’t require specialized equipment or knowledge — not to imply that it is all-inclusive, which it is not). This includes non-gendered, non-race specific yellow expression faces; symbols that stand for emotions (hearts) or human functions (snoring, farting); hands making symbolic gestures (non-gendered, white skin toned); several gendered, mostly white people-icons doing a variety of “basic” human activities (holding hands, kissing, being old; and finally some individual features such as disembodied eyes and lips.

The second grouping is symbolized by the Flower which stands in for weather, living animals and non-edible plants.

The third grouping is the Bell, the meaning of which is a little more obscure but based on the icons seems to imply celebration and activity. These are more “outside-the-house” people than the first set of human icons. Here we have holiday-themed icons, technology, office & school supplies, medical equipment, sports equipment, people involved in sports activities, playing cards, arts, literature and music themed images, clothing and makeup, jewelry, drinks, food, desserts and finally fruits.

The fourth set, symbolized by a Car, includes buildings, vehicles, signage, and a small selection of national flags.

The final set, denoted by a rectangle containing some punctuation symbols, contains numbers, words, some Japanese characters, symbols of a seemingly random nature (a stylized iPhone, some signage-type symbols resembling bathroom signs, etc), and analog clock images.

Next time I’ll summarize the new classification system, right now I think I need to step away from emojis and clean my room, because I’m moving to Seattle soon (maybe talk about that in another post) and my work is neverending.