Fans of emojis, the tiny little icons sprinkled throughout texts and social media posts, will be happy to learn that new ones will be added in 2021. Unicode, the company behind emojis, made the announcement on September 18 following previous reports that there wouldn’t be an update due to COVID-19. In a surprise reversal, the update will bring 217 new text icons to kids, teens and other internet users everywhere.
Coming in 2021: New Inclusive Emojis
Emojipedia reports that most of the new emojis are skin-tone- and gender-related. For one thing, the update offers the option to put a beard on any male, female, or gender-neutral emoji.
The update will also overhaul existing couples emojis, adding the capability to change skin tones. For the first time, users will be able to use the icons to depict interracial relationships.
Hearts and Faces
Perhaps most interesting, however, are the brand-new icons included in the update. First up are the new heart emojis, which include a bandaged heart and one engulfed in flames.
The update also includes three new face emojis. It will debut a face exhaling, another surrounded by clouds, and a third with spiral eyes and a shocked expression.
So what do these new emojis mean? That all depends on how you interpret them. Emojipedia has offered their own ideas for how to use the new icons. The fiery heart, for example, “may be used for representations of desire or lust, or could indicate a sense of burning a past love and moving on.”
However, CNN offered that the emoji, “depending on the interpretation, could express either heartburn or heartbreak.”
Similar speculation is cropping up around the new face icons, which many suggest reflect the confusion and chaos of 2020. For instance, The Verge hailed the spiral-eye face as “an expression of the deeper incomprehensibility of the past six months, as social isolation curdles and a surreal pageant of personal and global tragedies unfolds.”
The face surrounded by smoke has also been related to some of the year’s calamities – specifically the wildfires burning throughout the western US.
Face in Clouds would be unfortunately useful in the increasing wildfires— 🪗 Bruce Triggs (@AccordionBruce) September 18, 2020
Is there a smoke emoji? Or just 💨 ?
Afraid we’ll need more natural disaster emoji
Meanwhile, social media users are already adopting the exhaling face as the perfect response to this tumultuous year.
Thank you for the gusty sigh.— Becky Brunton 🌊 (@BeckyIB) September 19, 2020
Could have used that one a LOT in 2020 tbh.
The new emojis could be available as early as January 2021 or as late as October of next year, according to Emojipedia.