Submitting a Guinea Pig Emoji Proposal

On March 4, 2020, I submitted a proposal for a guinea pig emoji to the The Unicode Consortium, the folks who decide these things. My guinea pigs are five-and-a-half years old, and I always wanted to have an emoji to represent them. There is a rabbit (🐇), a rat (🐀), and a mouse (🐁). There is even a hamster face (🐹), which some suggested would be usable as a guinea pig. *

Update (4/13/2020): The emoji was rejected. The committee felt that there wasn’t enough evidence that a guinea pig emoji was needed.

You can see that The Unicode Consortium’s emoji proposal request page has been updated, with the Guinea Pig marked “New” instead of “No proposal form.”

Like many guinea pig enthusiasts, I’ve always complained that there was no emoji representing our favorite rodent. I was inspired to stop complaining and work on a proposal when I saw Jennifer 8. Lee of Emojination give a talk titled “How I Became An Emoji Activist” at the 2018 XOXO conference. From Jennifer I learned that there was a process to getting a new emoji accepted. It requires some research and writing. My friend Heidi Helen Pilypas also inspired me with her successful proposal for a bell pepper/capsicum emoji.

The Unicode Consortium has a very specific template for emoji proposals. (Emojination has an annotated template that can be very helpful.) Besides building a case for why a new emoji is needed, you have to do research on the relative popularity of the proposed emoji item via Google and Bing searches.

You also can make the case that the proposed emojii can represent multiple meanings. Guinea pigs are synonymous with laboratory test animals; human test subjects are referred to as guinea pigs; and guinea pigs are also a popular meal in some parts of the world. (Researching that last bit was hard on me 😱, but I knew it was important to be complete and as objective as possible for the proposal.)

You also need to submit a proposed design. I was very lucky that Neven Mrgan, designer at Panic, has also owned guinea pigs and offered to design the sample. His guinea pig emoji so good, I want to start using it right now! But the earliest it’s likely to appear would be spring 2021, and it might not even be accepted. I would be disappointed, but I will still be very happy that I got this proposal together and submitted it for consideration.

Jean MacDonald @macgenie