Thursday, August 11, 2016

Proposed Update UTR #51, Unicode Emoji (Version 4.0)

[doctor emoji] A proposed update of UTR #51, Unicode Emoji (Version 4.0) is available for public review and feedback. This new version covers a total of 2,243 emoji, an increase from the 1,788 in Version 3.0.

There are several important changes in the proposed update. Three existing symbols have been newly classified as emoji: U+2640 FEMALE SIGN, U+2642 MALE SIGN, and U+2695 STAFF OF AESCULAPIUS. These are used in sequences to represent additional professions and to make gender distinctions among emoji. Many new emoji zwj sequences are cataloged, including professions and roles, gender distinctions, and new family groupings. Two new flag emoji have been added, one as an emoji zwj sequence and one as a regional indicator pair. Ten additional emoji characters are newly classified as emoji modifier bases. This results in 50 new emoji modifier sequences, displaying skin tone diversity. For example, see the emoji data for U+1F93C WRESTLERS.

Associated charts are available at, and associated data files are available at

The review period for the proposed update ends on October 24, 2016. Feedback can be submitted through the online reporting form.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Unicode Consortium Announces Cover Design

The Unicode Consortium is pleased to announce the new design selected for the cover of the forthcoming print-on-demand publication of The Unicode Standard, Version 9.0. This is the first time the Unicode Consortium issued an open call for artists and designers to submit cover design proposals. All submitted designs were reviewed by an independent panel.

[cover art by Gabee Ayres]
The selected artwork is an original design by Gabee Ayres, a student and teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania with a background in fine arts, design and logic. Of her design, Ms. Ayres says, “I wanted to create a cover that reflected the technology inherent in Unicode without looking impassive or unwelcoming.”

Two runner-up designs by Jiachen Hu and Laura von Husen were also selected. Jiachen Hu is a computer science student at the University of California, Berkeley. Laura von Husen earned a Master’s degree in graphic design and illustration, and currently lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Jiachen Hu:
[Jiachen Hu]
Laura von Husen:
[Laura von Husen]

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Unicode Version 9.0 - Complete Text of the Core Specification Published

[cover art] The core specification for Version 9.0 of the Unicode Standard is now available, containing significant updates and improvements, including descriptions for six new scripts, 72 new emoji characters, and 19 symbols for the new 4K TV standard.

In Version 9.0, the standard added precisely 7,500 characters. This version continues the Unicode Consortium’s firm commitment to support the full diversity of languages around the world by adding support for lesser-used writing systems of additional languages, including Osage, Nepal Bhasa, Fulani, and the Bravanese dialect of Swahili. Characters are also added to support the Warsh orthography for Arabic in West Africa and for the historic Tangut script of China.

All other components of Unicode 9.0 were released on June 21, 2016 to allow vendors to update their implementations of Unicode 9.0 as early as possible. Those components include the Unicode Standard Annexes, code charts, and the Unicode Character Database. The publication of the core specification completes the definitive documentation of the Unicode Standard, Version 9.0. A print-on-demand (POD) version for Unicode 9.0 is planned for later publication, with new cover art created by Gabee Ayres.

For more information, see Unicode 9.0.0.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Adopt-A-Character Grant to Support Egyptian Hieroglyphs

[cartouche] The Adopt-a-Character program has awarded a grant to support further development of Egyptian hieroglyphs in the Unicode Standard. The initial grant allows a Unicode encoding expert to participate in a meeting at the University of Cambridge on Egyptian hieroglyphs. One meeting goal is to progress the representation of ​Unicode ​Egyptian hieroglyphs, including extending ​the repertoire. ​The meeting is hosted by the working group “Informatique et Egyptologie” of the International Association of Egyptologists, and will take place from 11-12 July, 2016.

Egyptian hieroglyphs date from the end of the fourth millennium BCE, and were used for more than 3,000 years. They represent a significant milestone in the world’s written legacy, capturing important literary, historical, and religious works. Egyptian hieroglyphs are studied by academics and also attract interest from the general public, young and old.

In 2009, a core set of Egyptian hieroglyphs was published in Unicode 5.2. In January 2016, three new format control characters, which will aid in the layout of Egyptian hieroglyphs, were approved by the Unicode Technical Committee. The three new format characters, as well as a large preliminary proposal for additional Egyptian hieroglyphs, will be discussed at the Cambridge meeting. The Cambridge meeting is a further step in the process of improving the support of Unicode Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Announcing The Unicode® Standard, Version 9.0

🥂Version 9.0 of the Unicode Standard is now available. Version 9.0 adds exactly 7,500 characters, for a total of 128,172 characters. These additions include six new scripts and 72 new emoji characters.

The new scripts and characters in Version 9.0 add support for lesser-used languages worldwide, including:
  • Osage, a Native American language
  • Nepal Bhasa, a language of Nepal
  • Fulani and other African languages
  • The Bravanese dialect of Swahili, used in Somalia
  • The Warsh orthography for Arabic, used in North and West Africa
  • Tangut, a major historic script of China
Important symbol additions include:
  • 19 symbols for the new 4K TV standard
  • 72 emoji characters such as the following
Animals 🦋  BUTTERFLY

For the full list, see emoji additions for Unicode 9.0. For a detailed description of support for emoji characters by the Unicode Standard, see UTR #51, Unicode Emoji.

Three other important Unicode specifications have been updated for Version 9.0:
Some of the changes in Version 9.0 and associated Unicode technical standards and reports may require modifications in implementations. For more information, see Unicode 9.0 Migration and the migration sections of UTS #10, UTS #39, UTS #46, and UTR #51. For full details on Version 9.0, see