In June 2020, I submitted two proposals for emoji, to be added to the expanding digital pictogram vocabulary. Unfortunately, Unicode, the organization responsible for the standardization of digital symbols, declined both proposals in its first selection rounds. 

Prehistoric stone tool emoji proposal, Alexandra Crouwers, unicode, 2020

Stone Tool emoji proposal

hand stencil emoji alexandra crouwers prehistoric emoji unicode proposal 2021

Hand Stencil emoji proposal

Unicode adds a selection of emoji each year, based on incoming proposals. Anyone can submit an idea for an emoji. The total selection procedure can take up to a year from submission to implementation. Many devices and apps use their own design sets for emoji, so the proposal is more a conceptual defense than a design challenge.

The Stone Tool and Hand Stencil proposals were deemed to be used not frequently enough for implementation, although I argued their conceptual merits would outweigh those, since especially the prehistoric cave art of hand stencils are the first examples of pictograms.

Hands at the Cuevas de las Manos upon Río Pinturas, Argentina. Picture via Wikipedia.

Read the Stone Tool emoji proposal below:


Mail by Unicode:

Thank you again for your proposal. The committee has reviewed this and declines to ad a “stone tool” emoji. This is too specific and there is low potential for widespread use. There is a (recently added) “rock” emoji which could be used with any too, such as dagger, hammer, etc to convey this concept.

Read the Hand Stencil emoji proposal below:


Mail by Unicode:

Thank you for your proposal. The committee has reviewed it and declines to add this as an emoji. There is not a strong enough case for the addition, considering factors such as the statistics and the existence of various “hand” emoji already.