Microsoft open sources its 1.5K 3D emojis for creator community to remix

Reading time icon 3 min. read

Readers help support MSPoweruser. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Tooltip Icon

Read the affiliate disclosure page to find out how can you help MSPoweruser effortlessly and without spending any money. Read more

Microsoft wants its library of emojis to reflect people more appropriately and believes the only way to do it is by allowing everyone to design their own emojis. With this, the company announced on Wednesday that it is open sourcing more than 1,500 of its 3D emojis and invited its community of creators to try them on Figma and GitHub.

“That’s no small feat when you’re talking about 1,538 emoji, but we wanted to ensure that every creator can build experiences that serve their community’s needs,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Design & Research Jon Friedman in the blog post announcing the open sourcing of emojis. “This especially applies to developers and audiences who haven’t been historically included. A headdress, an Afro, a sari — enabling the world’s majority (aka Black and Brown people) to express themselves how they want, to whom they want, and when they want is not just powerful, but necessary.”

According to Friedman, aside from the physical attributes and “breaking out of the Fitzpatrick scale,” Microsoft wants creators from different cultures, religions, sexual orientations, and more to interpret their emojis in their own contexts and realities. In addition, open sourcing the emojis will add more life to the existing emojis in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and allow professionals to have more accurate digital expressions in this unceasingly changing work landscape. 

In an interview with The Verge, Friedman shared how emojis help professionals express themselves during this pandemic. “One of the things I saw start to happen in Teams is people using heart reactions who are very serious, important executive people at Microsoft who were suddenly loving things, loving comments, or using emojis in sentences,” Friedman told The Verge. “Facial expression or body language was sort of disconnected from our communications… so we started to have these other rich conversations that were almost as engaged as the video conversations we were having,” Friedman added. “Emojis started to play a bigger and bigger role… and that enabled people to feel a little more comfortable with authentically reacting to things emotively.”

On a side note, while there are over 1500 emojis for creators to experiment with, Friedman underlined that not all Microsoft emojis will be available for open sourcing, including Clippy. According to the CVP for design and research, the reason for this is the legal reasons for trademarks. Aside from the said emoji, others include country flag, video game, and technologist emojis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *