The 2021 Unicode Delay and coloured shape sequences for Emoji 13.1

Emojipedia reports

The Unicode Consortium is delaying Unicode 14.0 by six months due to COVID-19. Β This means that emojis that would have arrived on phones in 2021 will instead roll out in 2022.

and

Alternatively, Unicode has suggested a Emoji 13.1 release which could fill the gap in 2021. This wouldn’t be able to include new Unicode characters (which need a full Unicode release), but could include sequences.

What is a sequence?Β  A sequence is a way of creating new emojis by combining existing ones (combining existing code points), rather than creating a new code point.

For example, Polar Bear, planned for 2020, is not a new code point, it is

a ZWJ sequence combining 🐻 Bear, ‍ Zero Width Joiner and ❄ Snowflake

That’s

An obvious use for sequences would be to fix the weird codepoint allocation that has gone to making coloured hearts, circles and squares, and some coloured “diamonds”, but no other coloured shapes.

  • heart: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown
  • circle: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown
  • square: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown
  • diamond: small orange, small blue, large orange, large blue (the diamond is really more of a rotated square)

That’s 27 codepoints just to make colours for three different shapes, and another four codepoints to make colours and sizes for another shape.Β  (I don’t know why there are orange and blue diamonds; I assume they have some cultural meaning.)

It actually is even more complicated than that, because there are multiple codepoints for black and white squares, and it’s not clear whether black and white mean, well, black and white, or more likely mean filled and unfilled, which was the earlier meaning for black and white in pre-emoji Unicode.

  • black small square, black medium-small square, black medium square, black large square
  • white small square, white medium-small square, white medium square, white large square

There are also separate playing card shapes:

So a very simple proposal would be to make more colours by using sequences.Β  Just pick one of the coloured shapes to use as an additional indicator of colour.Β  Probably the circles, because the squares are complicated.

e.g. make a small yellow diamond with small orange diamond + zero width joiner + yellow circle

What I would really like them to do is make an actual diamond-shaped black diamond, with diamond suit + zero-width joiner + black circle

This would create the black diamond I recommend as the liquorice emoji.

 

Ottawa LRT Stage 2 Line 2 in Emojis

Ottawa Line 2 πŸš† Stage 2

Bayview πŸš‰ ↔️ Line 1 🚈 East-West
πŸ›€οΈ

Gladstone πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Carling πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Carleton πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Mooney’s Bay πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Walkley πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Greenboro πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

South Keys πŸš‰ ↔️ Airport Link πŸš†
πŸ›€οΈ

Leitrim πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Bowesville πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Limebank πŸš‰

Alternative with washrooms

Ottawa Line 2 πŸš† Stage 2

Bayview πŸš‰πŸš» ↔️ Line 1 🚈 East-West
πŸ›€οΈ

Gladstone πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Carling πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Carleton πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Mooney’s Bay πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Walkley πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Greenboro πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

South Keys πŸš‰ ↔️ Airport Link πŸš†
πŸ›€οΈ

Leitrim πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Bowesville πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Limebank πŸš‰πŸš»

Airport Link

The Airport Link is a separate line; you have to change trains at South Keys Station.

Ottawa Line 2 πŸš† Stage 2 Airport Link

South Keys πŸš‰ ↔️ Line 2 πŸš†
πŸ›€οΈ

Uplands πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Airport πŸš‰ ↔️ ✈️

Emojis Used

See Also

November 13, 2018Β  Ottawa LRT Stage 2 maps

September 10, 2019 Ottawa LRT Stage 1 Line 1 in Emojis

All the train-related emojis

Since these emoji are tiny on most devices, and since most people just type “train” and select something, and since many people are not too bothered about which one to use, they tend to get jumbled up.Β  But anyway, here is what they’re supposed to be used for:

Trains

🚈 Light Rail

  • Light Rail is the correct emoji for the Ottawa Line 1 LRT
  • U+1F688

πŸš‚ Locomotive (steam train)

  • With the Wakefield steam train gone, the Canada Science & Technology Museum is the best place to see these, e.g. the Steam exhibition
  • U+1F682

πŸš† generic train

  • This is the closest emoji for Ottawa’s Line 2 diesel trains
  • U+1F686

πŸš„ High-Speed Train

  • Does not apply to any train in Canada
  • U+1F684

πŸš… Bullet Train

  • Does not apply to any train in Canada
  • Typically used for Shinkansen trains, but applies to any train with a “streamlined bullet nose”
  • U+1F685

🚝 Monorail

  • U+1F69D

πŸš‡ Metro (subway)

  • U+1F687

🚞 Mountain Railway

  • U+1F69E

🚊 Tram

  • The difference between light rail and a tram is that a tram runs at street level in a city, often with stops beside the sidewalk.Β  May run in mixed traffic.Β  The original form of rail mass transit in cities.Β  In North America often called a streetcar or a trolley.
  • U+1F68A

🚟 Suspension Railway

  • It’s kind of odd that there is an emoji for this as suspension railways are very rare.Β  The handful of suspension railways includes Wuppertal in Germany & Shonan and Chiba in Japan.
  • U+1F69F

Rail Cars

πŸšƒ Railway Car

  • It’s not really clear what kind of railway car this is.
  • The train emojis are not really designed to be assembled together.Β  Some face left, some face forward, and you can’t flip the direction.Β  So you can make a train going left like this πŸš‚πŸšƒπŸšƒπŸšƒ
    but you can’t really make a generic train with cars πŸš†πŸšƒπŸšƒ
    or a light rail train with engines on both ends πŸšˆπŸšƒπŸšƒπŸšˆ
    plus there’s no consistency between different designs for this emoji on whether the railway car has a pantograph (overhead connection to electrical wires) or not.
  • U+1F683

πŸš‹ Tram Car

  • The tram emojis are not designed to be assembled together.Β  A tram ends up looking like πŸšŠπŸš‹πŸš‹.
  • It’s definitely an electric tram, with a pantograph (overhead connection to electrical wires).
  • U+1F68B

Train Stations

πŸš‰ (Train) Station

  • It’s really more train platform than train station
  • U+1F689

Ⓜ️ Circled M

  • Commonly indicates a πŸš‡ Metro stop
  • U+24C2

Rails

πŸ›€οΈ Railway Track

  • These are all pretty much terrible at a small size.Β  Microsoft’s looks more like a mountain than railway tracks (and appears to show the railway heading directly for the mountain).
  • They aren’t designed to be lined up, so they look weird side-by-side: πŸ›€οΈπŸ›€οΈπŸ›€οΈ
  • U+1F6E4

Ottawa O-Train Specific

While it might seem like the red O emoji β­• is ideal for the O-Train, there are two issues:

  1. It’s actually called Heavy Large Circle, so for people using screen readers, it would probably sound like “Heavy Large Circle Train”, not “O-Train”.
  2. It has a specific meaning in a Japanese context: “an alternative to a [checkmark] in Japan for a something that is correct”.

Previously:
September 10, 2019 Ottawa LRT Stage 1 Line 1 in Emojis
April 12, 2015 iOS Travel emoji – railway vs tram

Ottawa LRT Stage 1 Line 1 in Emojis

Ottawa Line 1 🚈

Tunney’s Pasture πŸš‰ ↔️ 🚌 West
πŸ›€οΈ

Bayview πŸš‰ ↔️ Line 2 πŸš† South
πŸ›€οΈ

Pimisi πŸš‰ ↔️ OC Transpo 🚌 Gatineau
πŸ›€οΈ

Lyon πŸš‰πŸš‡ ↔️ STO 🚌 Gatineau
πŸ›€οΈ

Parliament πŸš‰πŸš‡
πŸ›€οΈ

Rideau πŸš‰πŸš‡
πŸ›€οΈ

uOttawa πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Lees πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Hurdman πŸš‰ ↔️ 🚌 South
πŸ›€οΈ

Tremblay πŸš‰ ↔️ VIA Rail πŸš†
πŸ›€οΈ

St-Laurent πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Cyrville πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Blair πŸš‰ ↔️ 🚌 East

Alternative with washrooms, retail, and bus stop signs

Ottawa Line 1 🚈

Tunney’s Pasture πŸš‰πŸš»πŸ›οΈ ↔️ 🚏 🚌 West
πŸ›€οΈ

Bayview πŸš‰πŸš» ↔️ Line 2 πŸš† South
πŸ›€οΈ

Pimisi πŸš‰ ↔️ OC Transpo 🚏 🚌 Gatineau
πŸ›€οΈ

Lyon πŸš‰πŸš‡ ↔️ STO 🚏 🚌 Gatineau
πŸ›€οΈ

Parliament πŸš‰πŸš‡
πŸ›€οΈ

Rideau πŸš‰πŸš‡πŸ›οΈ
πŸ›€οΈ

uOttawa πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Lees πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Hurdman πŸš‰πŸš»πŸ›οΈ ↔️ 🚏 🚌 South
πŸ›€οΈ

Tremblay πŸš‰ ↔️ VIA Rail πŸš†
πŸ›€οΈ

St-Laurent πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Cyrville πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Blair πŸš‰πŸš»πŸ›οΈ ↔️ 🚏 🚌 East

Thanks to Doug van den Ham for the idea about adding washrooms.

Emojis Used

I didn’t use the Tram emoji because trams travel in the roadway and typically have stops beside the sidewalk; trams are not the same as (heavy) railways or light rail. For some more info see previous blog posting iOS Travel emoji – railway vs tram.

UPDATE 2019-09-26: The in-station retail has been announced as Happy Goat Coffee, which leads to the inevitable alternative visual

Ottawa Line 1 🚈

Tunney’s Pasture πŸš‰πŸš»πŸ ↔️ 🚏 🚌 West
πŸ›€οΈ

Bayview πŸš‰πŸš» ↔️ Line 2 πŸš† South
πŸ›€οΈ

Pimisi πŸš‰ ↔️ OC Transpo 🚏 🚌 Gatineau
πŸ›€οΈ

Lyon πŸš‰πŸš‡ ↔️ STO 🚏 🚌 Gatineau
πŸ›€οΈ

Parliament πŸš‰πŸš‡
πŸ›€οΈ

Rideau πŸš‰πŸš‡πŸ
πŸ›€οΈ

uOttawa πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Lees πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Hurdman πŸš‰πŸš»πŸ ↔️ 🚏 🚌 South
πŸ›€οΈ

Tremblay πŸš‰ ↔️ VIA Rail πŸš†
πŸ›€οΈ

St-Laurent πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Cyrville πŸš‰
πŸ›€οΈ

Blair πŸš‰πŸš»πŸΒ β†”οΈ 🚏 🚌 East

END UPDATE

See Also

November 13, 2018Β  Ottawa LRT Stage 1 maps

May 10, 2020Β  Ottawa LRT Stage 2 Line 2 in Emojis

the liquorice emoji

There is no liqourice (or licorice) emoji.Β  There is a chocolate bar emoji.

Creating a liquorice emoji may seem simple, but it immediately runs into cross-cultural challenges, specifically what is liquorice and what does it look like.

In Scandinavia and northern Europe, liquorice is salty.Β  This is called salmiak liquorice, you also often see the the term zout (salt) as in double (DZ) or triple salt liquorice.

See Wikipedia – Salty liquorice and the New York TimesThe Saltier the Licorice, the Happier the Country.Β  Just Look at Finland.

One typical form for this liquorice is a small black diamond. Finland actually did a set of joke Finland emoji (as a tourism promotion) with a “black gold” liquorice emoji
black_gold white background

Finnish sweet β€˜salmiakki’ is liquorice spiced up with Ammonium chloride. It is something Finns can’t live without.

Unfortunately it doesn’t have great characteristics, which is to say if you didn’t already know what it is supposed to represent (a woman eating diamond liquorice) then you would have a hard time figuring it out.

The ideal representation would be a simple black diamond, which could be reused for other purposes as well.Β  Except the emoji set has no black diamond.Β  There’s a set of card suit emojis, so of course the emoji is a red diamond.Β  There are also, inexplicably, blue and orange diamonds in two sizes (I guess these must have some culture-specific meaning).Β  The only place you can get a black diamond emoji is from Mozilla, who have misread the ridiculously confusing specification.Β  The specification says that “black” means filled, not, you know, black.

When describing pre-emoji Unicode symbols, black in a character name refers to the symbol being solid/filled in.

So the emoji “black diamond suit” is actually a filled red diamond.Β  Except from Mozilla.Β  In the Mozilla emoji set on Emojipedia the diamond is black, and in the Mozilla emoji set on Github the large diamond is red but the smaller diamond on hover is black.
Mozilla black diamond suit
So for salty liquorice all that is needed is an actual black diamond emoji.

But that doesn’t represent liquorice globally.Β  In the US and Canada, probably the closest would be a black Twizzler, which isn’t even really liquorice.Β  Plus which particularly in the US, it tends actually to be a red Twizzler, which they call red vines (I only know this from Gilmore Girls).Β  This red candy is popular enough (or maybe recognizable on screen enough) to have appeared being enjoyed by characters in US TV shows, including The Flash and Agents of SHIELD.Β  Since “red” liquorice doesn’t actually exist, it’s not actually liquorice at all.

In the UK I don’t know, maybe a Pontefract cake? (Which is not actually a cake, it’s more like a coin-shaped candy.Β  I only know about these because of a BBC Radio 4 Extra cake series – episode Pontefract cake.)Β  And in France probably a Zan tablet (now Haribo Zan), which is yet another different liquorice experience.

Basically there’s a good case for the salty liquorice black diamond emoji, but I don’t think there’s an emoji that would recognizably represent liquorice globally.

As a sidebar, a much better emoji approach to shapes would mirror the one used for skin tones, which is to say, just have the hollow and filled shapes and then add markup for colour.Β  And maybe markup for size.Β  With four emoji codes already for blue and orange diamonds, it doesn’t make sense to keep adding two more codes for every new colour.

iOS Travel emoji – railway vs tram

Apple iOS 8.3 adds many new emoji (these symbols are standardized by the Unicode Consortium, not by Apple).Β  It also has a new, much larger display (emoji keyboard) with clearer groupings.Β  But not quite clear enough.

Perhaps it’s because Apple has a giant suburban US campus, but some of their transportation emoji are difficult to distinguish (there is a whole separate issue, which is that you only get the tiny icon, instead of being able to tap-and-hold to get a much larger more detailed icon with a text explanation).

Here are most (but not all) of the selections

Travel Emoji - IMG_2152 - 12152

As you can see, two of the entries in the far-left column look almost identifical.Β  They are actually railway car and tram car.Β  Here they are at double size, with explanation and Twitter icons (apologies for my clumsy graphics editing skills).

Travel Emoji - railway tram Twitter - IMG_2152 - 12152

You can see good info, with the representations used in multiple different operating systems, at EmojiBase:

In short, if you want to tweet or text a RAILWAY CAR use the TOP icon.
If you want to tweet or text a TRAM CAR use the BOTTOM icon.

(In fairness to Apple, the Android emoji are much worse, rendering the railway car like a bus.)