A lot of people call emoji a language, but few people seem to think about what the effects of using languages are. A language isn't a neutral or universal way of communicating with others - it's a particular way of seeing the world.
I think that rather often the same is assumed of the standard emoji we're used to on our phones and computers, but they actually represent a limited view of humanity, even more limited than the written or spoken word. The world of our standard emoji is one where men only have short hair and women only have long hair, there are lots of sports, but few non-sporting activities, and the only currencies are $, €, £ and ¥.
The reason this is so is because we are only usually allowed one set and only one group of people get to decide what's in that set - the Unicode Consortium and various tech companies (mostly Silicon Valley ones). But it shouldn't be this way and it doesn't have to be.
Mutant Standard is a project that is aiming to change this by creating a new set (and accompanying technical standard) that expands the range of human expression, and by doing so, encouraging others to change how we think about and use emoji in our daily lives.
What's in Mutant Standard?
Your standard emoji, but better.
A new take on Unicode's emoji that's more inclusive and more flexible. These will be mostly compatible with other Unicode Standard emoji sets.
- Gender neutral expressions that are relevant to you no matter your hair style, gender or race.
- Family emoji that are inclusive to different family arrangements.
- Awesome new customisation, with things like nonhuman skin colours and different hand types like paws and clawed hands.
Awesome new emoji.
Lots of new and fun emoji for different groups of people and interests. This list will grow as time goes on:
- LGBTQIA+/GSD pride symbols, flags, etc.
- Emoji for furries, scalies, monsters, nonhumans, etc.
- Fantasy & Roleplaying emoji
- Cyberpunk emoji
- Occult emoji
A unique aesthetic.
The set is being created in a distinctive style inspired by emoticons and pre-smartphone emoji of the 90's and 00's, resulting in bold, bright, minimalist emoji unlike anything else.
Each emoji is specifically designed to look awesome and readable on both low and high res screens, on dark backgrounds as well as light ones.
Currently Mutant Standard has more than 700 unique emoji designs, and more than 3,000 emoji including colour variants. You can view and download the latest version here and use them for non-commercial purposes. It's licensed Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International.
What would my money go towards?
Making more emojiA large portion of the work will be the research, design and production of emoji. The end goal is to make Mutant Standard a complete, standalone set.
Enabling people to use the emojiThere will be time dedicated to helping people use Mutant Standard in various sites and services. So in addition to the production of emoji, your money will go towards:
- Hosting the project website and emoji downloads.
- Production of different emoji formats tailored to different services and web apps (Mastodon, Discourse, Discord, Telegram Stickers, etc.).
- Plotting of codepoints in the Unicode Private Use Area so people can consistently send Mutant Standard's custom emoji to each other.
If the bigger goals for the project are reached, then other things can be worked on - like custom emoji pickers for web apps and potentially even emoji keyboards for browsers and phones.
Making MerchandiseSome time will also be spent on converting emoji into merchandise for people to enjoy and to promote the project IRL.
I have a public Trello board for my production notes so you can get a glimpse of what I'm thinking about and what I'm up to at any time.
The Design Process
Designing and producing emojis can be quite an intensive task - some designs take a few minutes to make but others can take a few hours. Some emoji might change later as opinions and perceptions change, so there's an element of experimentation too. I'll keep you informed on how the emoji are doing and what I think about them.
Rewards and Goals
Patrons can get special perks like:
- Being included in the readme credits for all future releases.
- Exclusive seasonal wallpapers for desktop, tablet, phone and watch. Including tailored ones for tall borderless phones (like iPhone X and new Samsung Galaxy phones) and old feature phones.
- Access to exclusive Discord and Patreon communities and priority access to ask me questions and more development details.
- The ability to vote on special 'VIP' emoji I make each month.
I strongly believe in freely accessible education, so I have decided to make educational things goals instead of rewards. If I get enough funding for this, I can comfortably do special process/educational things for everyone to enjoy, like livestreams and publishing of my design notes and sketches.
There are also some great non-educational things planned for later goals, like custom emoji pickers and emoji keyboards for browsers and phones.
Updates + FeedbackI will post updates here as well as on Mastodon, Twitter, Discord, Telegram and Tumblr.
I'm totally up for feedback! Message/comment here or on those other places to tell me what you think of the emoji right now, or if you have any ideas for what other emoji might be cool for this set.
If you have any questions, check my FAQ first to see if your question has already been answered.