Emoji has become a key part of our language. It's how friends communicate via chat and how businesses communicate with their customers. And the standardization of emoji across chat programs and operating systems has created a shared visual communication which works across languages and cultures.
But the world in 2020 faces major challenges. The fear of epidemics like COVID-19 is causing major disruption, especially in countries which are dependent on tourism.
Yet there are simple steps we can all take to protect against the spread of infectious diseases, like following good hand hygiene practices. According to the Centers for Disease Control, regularly washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to stop the spread of disease. But check your emoji keyboard, and you'll find there is no emoji for handwashing!
9 March We meet with UNICEF in Bangkok to discuss the campaign
16 March, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) joins as co-submitter of the official proposal.
17 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) joins as co-submitter of the official proposal.
21 March, GIPHY launch an animated handwashing emoji in their official iMessage reactions pack
26 March, Youtube add the handwashing emoji in livestream chat
Join the campaign for a handwashing emoji!
We are the team behind Lemi. Lemi is designed to help travelers save and share discoveries around the world. When you post recommendations on Lemi, you inspire others to try amazing experiences and support local businesses that they’d only hear about by word of mouth.
We spend a lot of time talking to local businesses. They tell us they want to be able to easily communicate what they're doing to protect against the spread of disease by highlighting good hand hygiene with their staff and customers.
Writing in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, Nasim Lotfinejad et al writes that hand hygiene emojis may empower infection prevention and control in different aspects such as raising awareness with no language barrier.
"The development of hand hygiene-related emojis will enable health professionals to communicate more specifically regarding their discoveries and concerns in this field. "
Because the action of washing hands can be represented by a combination of other emoji, it is best represented as a "ZWJ" (zero width joiner) sequence. For example the 🏳️🌈 Rainbow Flag emoji is comprised of the 🏳 Waving White Flag, a "zero width joiner", and the 🌈 Rainbow.
We propose the following sequence
🧼U+1F9FC BAR OF SOAP
U+200D ZERO WIDTH JOINER
👏U+1F44F CLAPPING HANDS SIGN
See our press page for high-resolution graphics and contacts