Following a promise by Apple way back in March to introduce more racial diversity to the icons used in Emoji characters, Google and Apple contributors have now posted a proposal of how to make it a reality. The draft standard will extend the current icon set to include five color variants for Emojis including people and faces. The variants are distinguished by Fitzpatrick skin categories, although exact colors are up to the platform vendor (Apple, Google, etc) to interpret.
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The proposal suggests that a long-press on a particular key of the Emoji keyboard will popup options for alternate skin tones. The spec requires that these diversity options will be available for the following characters, which prominently display skin as part of their icons.
In total, 151 Emoji are involved. The spec is still an early draft, so don’t assume these racially-diverse Emoji will arrive on iOS devices anytime soon. Standards bodies are notoriously slow at finalizing additions and changes.