Microsoft Open Sources (most of) its Emoji

Microsoft has opened more than 1,500 of its Emoji Fluent.

The company has made available “a collection of familiar, friendly and modern Microsoft emoji” via GitHub as good as figma collaborative design tool. The collection includes the vast majority of Microsoft’s custom emoji, with a few notable exceptions.

“I don’t want to water it down,” Jon Friedman, head of design at Microsoft said“So let’s start with the bad news: Clippy is not included in the set of open source emoji?t open source brands.”

This restriction also prevented Microsoft from making its “country flags, video games and tech emoji” open source, Friedman says. (The latter two make sense, given that Microsoft offers branded content in these designs, but the lack of flags is surprising.)

Let’s put the lack of Clippy aside for a moment. What can people do with these open source Fluent Emoji? Well, the collection was released under the MIT license, which requires that derivative works preserve copyright and license notices.

Friedman says Microsoft decided to make Fluent Emoji open source so that “every creator can create experiences that meet the needs of their community.” The most easily noticed example: creating emoji that are not limited by the Fitzpatrick scale for the complexion used by Unicode.

“Getting off the Fitzpatrick scale was one of our motivations for releasing our open-source Fluent emoji,” Friedman says, “but it goes way beyond physical attributes. Culture, religion, sexual orientation, politics, food — no one knows your contexts and realities better than you and given the importance of emoji in the realm of digital expression, we wanted to make them widely available for use.”