There are emoji everywhere these days—but creating them doesn’t come cheap, and now, says the Unicode Consortium, it’s time to pay up.

Of course, the consortium puts it a little more nicely than that: It’s inviting people to sponsor a symbol for a year to help fund its work encoding languages that don’t yet have digital representations.

The Unicode developed and promoted by the consortium is composed of thousands of code points, each expressing a relation between a number and a symbol.

Those relations allow app developers, font developers and keyboard designers to agree that a given number stored in memory should appear as a given symbol—a particular emoji, say—on the screen, and that the symbol be the same regardless of which device the message is displayed on. If there wasn’t such agreement, then there’s a risk that when an Android user sent ?, say, an iPhone user might receive ?.

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