It’s been a long time coming, but a redhead emoji could finally be on the cards. According to Emojipedia’s Jeremy Burge, the redhead is now a candidate for the next Unicode release, along with bald, curly and white-haired emojis.
In a series of updates on his Twitter profile, Burge shared sample images of the male and female versions of the new emojis, courtesy of Emojipedia illustrator Joshua Jones.
These were displayed alongside images of the real-life celebrities cited in Unicode’s proposal.
The chosen representatives for "redhead" were Jessica Chastain and Ed Sheeran, while That Poppy and Anderson Cooper were chosen to represent "white haired" people.
Ciara Anderson and Kit Harington were cited as people with "curly hair", and Sinead O’Connor and Samuel L Jackson were chosen to represent bald people.
Unicode warned that the actual appearance of the final emoji may vary, as the Unicode Technical Committee is still considering several different approaches to implementing the redhead emoji and other natural hair options.
These range from a new "person with red hair" emoji, which would come in both male and female versions, to custom hair "tags", which could be applied to any existing emoji.
It noted that there are no plans at present for bald professions, redheaded sportspeople, or white-haired people performing gestures.
"If such features are deemed important for inclusion in future, further characters or ZWJ Sequences may be proposed in a manner similar to this proposal," it said. The lack of a ginger emoji has been a bone of contention for many years. A petition for a redhead emoji on Change.org, started in 2015, now has over 21,000 signatures.
"Despite the recent racial and sexual ‘diversification’ of Apple’s emoji, there’s still an important group of people missing from the emoji family of 300 new symbols," the petition states.
"Redheads. In all their glorious gingerness, they’ve been missed out. Again. If you say you’re going to diversify, why not add a few red-haired emoji in the mix? Natural redheads may be rare at less than 2 percent of the world’s population, but that is 138,000,000 iPhones waiting to happen."
As the UK’s fastest growing language, emoji characters need to represent of a broad range of people. Last year, Apple released a set of racially diverse emoji faces, allowing users to choose the skin tone that best represents them.
The Unicode Consortium also recently approved a selection of same-sex couple emoji and a rainbow flag, which is commonly used by the LGBT movement as a symbol of gay pride.
With the Unicode 10.0 release just months away, the redhead emoji would likely appear in 2018 at the earliest.