The Dumpling Emoji Project
Emoji by the People, for the People
Dumplings are a seemingly universal food, popular throughout the world’s cultures. Poland has pierogi. Nepal has momos. Russia has pelmeni. Japan has gyoza. Italy has ravioli. Georgia has khinkali. Korea has mandoo. Argentina has empanadas. Jews have kreplach. China has potstickers.
Yet there is no dumpling emoji. There are, however, emojis for pizza, hamburgers and tacos (which Taco Bell likes to take credit for). Even sushi. What gives?
The creators of the Dumpling Emoji Project believe there’s a time to correct this oversight. And that time is now! Support our Kickstarter.
Who Controls Emoji?
When we started looking into who could approve our proposal for a dumpling emoji, we were surprised to learn that the emojis – so central to the lives of ordinary Internet users across the globe – was controlled by a handful of multinational American tech corporations.
When you see or send an emoji, that emoji has likely been backed by the Unicode Consortium and approved to be standardized across platforms. Without guidance from the consortium, an emoji created for an Apple device would appear as a jumble on any other device.
So, who gets to vote on whether an emoji is included in that universal lexicon? There are currently 11 full voting members who pay $18,000 a year for the privilege. Eight of them are United States multinational tech companies: Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.
It can take well over 18 months for a proposed emoji to complete the review process, which includes gaining the approval of ISO, yet another international standards body.
The decision makers along the way are overwhelmingly male, overwhelming white and overwhelmingly engineers. They specialize in encoding. Such a review process certainly is less than ideal for promoting a vibrant visual language used throughout the world.
* Lower membership tiers in Unicode include the government of India, the government of Bangladesh and the University of California, Berkeley. Those levels include full and half votes on the Unicode Technical Committee, which oversees emoji.
Emoji By The People, For The People
While we are pushing for inclusion of a dumpling emoji, we are also hoping that our campaign shines a light on the little-understood, undemocratic approval process for emojis.
We are creating an organization to give a voice to the people about emojis: Emojination. Our motto is, "Emoji by the people, for the people."
We want emoji requests (#emojirequest) to bubble up within an inclusive, representative process. This is about more than dumplings. It's about giraffes, hedge hog, the Nazar. And dozens of other images that people want recognized as emojis.
• Dumpling crawls in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles
• A "Night of 1,000 Momos" at Little Tibet
• Dumpling cookbooks
• Dumpling t-shirts
• Limited Edition Dumpling Emoji Fine Art Prints, Signed &
Numbered by its Artist Yiying Lu
• Dumpling tattoos
• Dumpling tote bags
• Dumpling recipes
• Dumpling workshops or parties at your home or office
The Dumpling Emoji Design
Proposed dumpling emoji glyph (2 versions), by Yiying Lu
What can you do?
Throw your own dumpling emoji awareness party! Invite people over and celebrate the dumpling, whether it's momos, potstickers, pierogi or empanadas.
Contribute dumpling-schwag to our Kickstarter campaign. Do you have dumpling art, dumpling cookbooks, dumpling events, etc.
So who is behind a dumpling emoji?
"Whether it's dumplings or tacos or pizza emojis, the Unicode Consortium is regulating language. People speak with their hands these days and language should be open. I believe that not only should there be a dumpling emoji, there should be a bao emoji too."
— Eddie Huang, founder of Baohouse and author of "Fresh Off the Boat."
"How can there not be a dumpling emoji? Its like having no 'A' in the 'ABCs.'"
— Tim Wu, Columbia Law professor who invented "Net Neutrality" and former cashier at a dumpling restaurant in Virginia.
"The Emoji Set without the Dumpling Emoji is like the keyboard without the "!" symbol. It's hard not to illustrate that excitement when I have the paint brush."
— Yiying Lu, Creator of the Dumpling Emoji Art and Artist of the Twitter Fail Whale (Originally named "Lifting A Dreamer")
"The choices for expressing affection are startlingly limited. I want to be able to say "You are my little [dumpling emoji] — but I can't. (BTW, there's no cabbage either, for those who want to court in French. )"
— Amanda Bennett, former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
"A dumpling emoji? What a no brainer. It's so simple and telegraphic — goodness in small packages. It just makes you smile."
— Ming Tsai, chef, author and host of PBS-TV's SimplyMing
"Until dumplings have a place at the emoji table, ours cannot be a truly inclusive society."
— Jeannie Suk, first female Asian-American tenured professor at Harvard Law School.
"A dumpling emoji could be as full of meaning as a soup dumpling: bursting with flavor and heat."
— V.V. Ganeshananthan, novelist and dumplingoisseur
— Parker Conrad, CEO of Zenefits and dumpling aficionado.
"If you are willing to call them pierogi emojis, I'm in."
— Craig Silverstein, Dean of Infrastructure at Khan Academy and first employee at Google.
"If there was a national fast food chain serving up dumplings, we'd probably have a dumpling emoji already. Since there isn't, getting a dumpling emoji into the mix has to be a people's movement. Rise up and get doughy."
"Dumplings are a multicultural sensation of flavor and tradition. It’s time they we’re immortalized with other classic foods on the emoji keyboard."
"Billions of people can't be wrong, dumplings are HOT. The world demands dumpling emoji!!"
— James Hong, co-founder of HOT or NOT.
"It's not animation. I've seen these dumplings texting each other. They mean business."
— Duncan Robson, video editor, narrator and animator.
"Every culture recognizes the dumpling. We need to be able to communicate this in a single character—optimally a cute one."
— Jeff Orlick, founder of the Momo Crawl in New York City.
"I've been asking for a pierogi emoji for years—it's time to take matters into our own hands."
— Casey Barber, author of Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food
Dumpling emoji in the news!
Note that this campaign is not designed to circumvent established guidelines for encoding emoji, such as the UTR #51 selection factors that are useful for gauging the extent to which an emoji candidate is suitable for encoding. Instead, this campaign is designed to bring together like-minded emoji enthusiasts with the goal of coordinating efforts to propose emoji that have demonstrated demand and be strong candidates.
Dumpling emoji art created by Yiying Lu. Non-commercial use. Feel free to share.
Video animated, narrated, edited (and actors consumed) by Duncan Robson.