Two youths send text messages on their smart phones.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty

Emojis may soon include more ‘human diversity’ in skin tone

Your emoji library may soon get a makeover.

More skin-tone options for the online characters could hit smartphones in 2015. The Unicode Consortium, developers of the pictographs commonly used for text messaging, introduced a proposal earlier this week that would diversify the skin complexions in certain images. 

“People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone,” Unicode said in its proposal.

The new characters would be based on the six-tone Fitzpatrick scale, a standard used by dermatologists to classify skin type. The Unicode Consortium library currently includes more than 800 images, ranging from smiley faces to monkeys to a bald white man. 

“Emoji is built into our language,” Aminatou Sow, host of the podcast “Call Your Girlfriend,” told msnbc. ”It’s disappointing to not have anyone that looks like you,” she added, expressing her excitement for the new update. 

In 2012, Apple added a same-sex female and same-sex male couple to the mix. Users of the site Dosomething.org gathered signatures in August 2013 to petition Apple to “add more diversity to the Emoji Keyboard.” Miley Cyrus has also been outspoken on the issue. 

Apple agreed. “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard,” Katie Cotton, the vice-president of worldwide corporate communications, told MTV in March of this year. 

Unicode added 250 new characters over the summer, including a black hand, but it has yet to be released for iPhones.

Japan and Technology

Emojis may soon include more 'human diversity' in skin tone