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    • Happy Chinese New Year 2019! Dumplings (or 饺子 jiaozi in Mandarin) are a traditional must-eat food during Chinese New Year Holidays; families wrap them up and eat them as the clock strikes midnight.

      In 2016, I created the artwork for the official dumpling 🥟, Chopsticks 🥢, fortune cookie 🥠, and Takeout Box 🥡 Emoji designs. Together with the effort from Jennifer 8. Lee, we made these emojis available for billions of keyboards. I also co-founded Emojination, a community to make emoji approval an inclusive and representative process, with Jennifer 8. Lee & Jeanne Brooks.

      Dumplings symbolize longevity and wealth; their shape resembles Yuanbao, gold shoe-shaped ingots, an early form of Chinese currency.

    • That all started with a text message…

      The Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) accepted the design above as a candidate for emoji. Unicode 11.3, that was released November 2017.

      I am responsible for the original design behind the Dumpling Emoji story. 🎨

      The story? It all starts with a text message with my friend Jennifer 8. Lee. Jennifer and I met 7 years ago in NYC, we both relocated to San Francisco a few years ago. Since we are both dumpling aficionados, nothing better than reuniting via lots of dumplings. She invited me over for a triumphant dumpling reunion. Shortly after receiving her SMS of a picture featuring a bunch of delicious dumplings. I eager to text back with a dumpling emoji, only found out it is not available on the phone keyboard at all. I paused and thought: Wait, but I am a designer. I could make this. I went onto my computer, and created the first version of the dumpling emoji after several hours… and even made it animated. I call it the Bling Bling Dumpling.

      But still, it only works as a picture, not the little glyph in our keyboard on our phones. So how can we get the dumpling emoji on our phones?

    • Jennifer is a former The New York Times reporter and currently the CEO of a literary studio Plympton. She is passionate about publishing, and she found out that emojis are defined and regulated by an organization called the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit organization that oversees the Unicode standard and determines what emoji are added.

      In December, we started a Kickstarter as Emojination to fund our campaign to join the Unicode Consortium, whose members include Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and other technology companies, as well as government agencies and the University of California, Berkeley. We were funded in just over 2 days, with supported by many amazing people: including Eddie Huang, founder of Baohouse and author of “Fresh Off the Boat.”; Tim Wu, Columbia Law professor who invented “Net Neutrality”; Amanda Bennett, former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal; Kenny Lao, Author of “Hey There, Dumpling!” and Co-Founder Rickshaw Dumpling Bar and Trucks, and so on.

      The Dumpling Emoji campaign also gain a lot of love and attention from the press NBC, TIME, ABC 7 News Bay Area, Public Radio International, National Post, China Daily, China News, Mic, and so on.

      Folks at the Unicode Consortium were excited about our Dumpling Emoji campaign. The standard emoji proposal submission has to include a well-written proposal which explains the historical and cultural significance of the proposed the emoji; as well as the visual design of the proposed emoji. Jennifer took care of the words, and I took care of the artwork. The committee send their feedbacks for the design refinement: since none of the food emojis is not personified 🍔 🍕 🌮 🍣 🍰 🍩 🍚 🍜, it was suggested to have a faceless dumpling.

      For me personally, I still like it with the face very much … I mean look at 💩 emoji  —  it is fun to have emojis making direct eye contact with the users. Yet it is more important to keep the consistency with the existing food emoji family. Later, the Unicode Consortium emoji committees send their final feedback, requested to have a 45 degree angled dumpling design. to keep the consistency with a lot of other food emojis such as 🌭 🌮 🌯 🍫 🍕 🍭 🍡 After many sketches, I came up with the final design: Can you spot it below?

    • The Unicode Consortium were pleased by the artwork, and suggested we submit more proposal of the other 3 highly anticipated emojis — the takeout box chopsticks and fortune cookie, in order to make it into a set of 4 new food emojis, see below:

      The Unicode Consortium announced that it had accepted 5 new emoji characters as candidates for Unicode 11.1, including the 4 emojis above and the “Face with One Eyebrow Raised” emoji that were released November 2017.

      Now all these years later, the emojis I designed are out there in the world. But what does it all mean?

    • Great story, Yiying. No wonder you made the list of Fast Company's most creative people in 2018. It's so great to see you here.

      I don't think I've ever seen more energy between two people than to see you and Victoria together:

    • That's so cool. I had no idea these emojis were made possible by a Kickstarter campaign, or that they were created by people who just really wanted them to exist and did what it took to make that happen.

      Now they'll live forever in Unicode!


    • Dumpling or jiǎozi (饺子),are ubiquitous in China. The reason we eat dumplings on Chinese New Year is they resemble ”元宝” (Sycee or YuanBao), a form of old Chinese currency that's basically little nuggets of gold and silver. Therefore the similarly shaped dumplings have become a symbol of prosperity and wealth in the coming year. 

      Here is the epiphany: I was editing the video of my recent talk on Cross-cultural design, where 
      The Chinese character Home  is “家” (jiā).

      It consists of two pictorial components a roof “宀” (mián) on the top and a pig  “豕” (shǐ) beneath. The roof radical 宀 in Chinese is called 宝盖头 (bǎo ɡài tóu), which literally translated to “Treasure (宝) Canopy (盖头)”.  The “treasure” 宝 is the same character from the word of the ancient Chinese currency sycee ”元宝”, its literal meaning is "inaugural treasures", which is the form of the dumpling 🥟 based on!

      Dumpling 🥟+ Year of Pig 🐷 = Home 🏠

      Dumpings are so much more than you might think. And I hope you consider voting for the Dumpling Emoji as "Emoji of the Year" for the Shorty Awards!