Next year will see the launch of Unicode 9 – a new coding update that will see up to 38 emojis launched for smartphone users.
Originally popularised in Japan, emoji literally means 'picture' and 'character' – and the use of these cute characters in text messages has been growing outside Japan for some time now.
While people may have sent simple approximations of smiley faces – 🙂 – in the early days of text messaging, more sophisticated software behind smartphones makes it possible to include small icons of people, animals, flags, food and much more.
Now, 38 new characters have been accepted for the forthcoming 2016 Unicode update, Emojipedia reports.
These include Face Palm, Selfie, Shrug, Fingers Crossed and Pregnant Woman, all of which have been created by graphic designer Joshua Jones.
One of the main driving forces behind the new additions is the gender-matched pair – so the Bride emoji can be accompanied by the Man in Tuxedo.
A Dancer emoji was not intended to be male or female, but the popularity of the salsa dancing woman emoji in a flowing red dress has prompted the addition of the Man Dancing emoji, pulling shapes reminiscent of John Travolta's famous poses in Saturday Night Fever.
Father Christmas will be united with Mother Christmas, and lots of new faces are set to be added, such as Face With Cowboy Hat, Clown Face, Nauseated Face, Drooling Face and Lying Face – with a Pinocchio-esque long nose.