2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Every year, we are blessed with even more emojis. The library of small, pictographs gets one step closer to usurping existing human languages as a nuanced mode of communication. Despite everything else happening, 2022 is no different: Unicode has released its list of emoji finalists that may or may not (but probably will) get uploaded to the official emoji catalogue.

You can vote for your favourites if you want — although we have no evidence that emoji selection is a democratic process. And regardless of your feelings, finalists will be released in September. The current list is made up of draft designs, so small changes could be made between now and then, and it’s possible that something gets cut.

What won’t change though is Gizmodo’s very scientific, objective, and definitive rankings of all the 2022 emoji finalists. Two extremely professional writers (Kevin and Lauren) have put their combined analytical powers together and scored each tiny image on a scale of 1 to 5 based on it’s usability, design, and novelty — for the personal benefit of our readers, of course. Our respective scores were then summed (a total possible score of 3 to 15 for each emoji) and then averaged together to get a final score for each emoji.

Lauren is an atypical emoji user, who enjoys combining the little pictures into puzzles for her friends to solve among their Venmo notifications. Also, she is a big user of the “100″ and fire hypebeast-esque reacts. Beyond those standards, her current favourites include the octopus, the trumpet, and the bucket.

Kevin is an avid emoji user who hyperfixates on a handful of emojis at a time. His current favourite emojis include the melting face, the envelope sealed with a heart, and the shaka (which is actually the “Call Me Hand,” apparently).

Read on to learn how all of this year’s contestants in the emoji pageant stack up — worst to best.

Grey Heart

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 2, Novelty: 1

The only place I can think to use this is to signify that every day, my heart becomes a little less human and a little more machine. My spirit is calcifying from lively red to a matte, steely grey. Sad!

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 2, Novelty: 2

We have the white heart, which conveys this sense of purity and hope. We have the black heart, which is dark and gothic. Now we have the grey heart, which occupies the liminal space between the two and simply conveys the void. Not a fan.

Light Blue Heart

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 6.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 4, Design: 2, Novelty: 1

There’s already “Blue Heart” but why not “Light Blue Heart?” If I was in more bonkers, toxic gender reveal baby text threads, I’m sure there would be lots of places to use this. But since I’m not, I’ll probably only be whipping it out to signify a specific, soft, tender (yet platonic) type of emotional support and solidarity. Blue Heart is the ocean, Light Blue Heart is the clouds. Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 3, Novelty: 2

The blue heart already exists, but the light blue heart is sort of an unnecessary addition. I mean where do you draw the line? Are we going to have a light yellow heart? Light purple? Light green?

Wing

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 6.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 3, Novelty: 2

We’ve already got winged animals, the sweet baby angel, the money pile flying away, and the peace dove. So, I’m just not sure about this one. Where would I use it? At least if it was a pair of wings, or a mirror image set-up, I could give wings to the wingless. Alas, instead it’s a disappointment.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design 1, Novelty: 4

Wing is a missed opportunity. I would’ve ranked this one way higher if they released two, mirrored wings so you could turn any of the face emojis into an angel emoji. But alas we’ve got one, and I’m not exactly sure what the context would be to use it.

Flute

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 7

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 2, Novelty: 2

I am not in an orchestra, so unless there ends up being a euphemistic application here, I’m not sure where “Flute” applies. And, let’s face it, we probably don’t need another eggplant equivalent.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 4, Novelty: 3

Flute’s cool, but I struggle to think of a time when I would use it. The woodwind instruments don’t have nearly enough emoji representation.

Black Bird

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 7.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 3, Novelty: 3

The only thing I initially wrote in reaction to this was “tweet tweet bird,” and I’m sticking with my gut. Quoth the raven, “tweet tweet bird.”

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 3, Novelty: 3

Black bird is a little too hyper specific for me to justify using, but it could be a cute little embellishment for a “Happy Friday the 13th” text to your loved ones, or on a “Happy Birthday” greeting for Edgar Allen Poe.

Hyacinth

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 8

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 4, Novelty: 2

I will add this to my annual “Happy Mother’s Day” text, and to communicate signs of spring. But it wouldn’t have been my top choice addition to the flower category.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

I’m a plant guy, through and through, and I’m obsessed with the hyacinth emoji. It’s gorgeous — the colours pop and the detail on the actual flowers is awesome. That said, I have no idea when I would use this. Might I suggest a snake plant emoji?

Pink Heart

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 8.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 2, Novelty: 1

Yes, why not. The people have demanded it, and now they have what they asked for. At least with a pink to add to the existing blue and purple, I’ll finally be able to have the emoji heart Bi-flag representation I’ve been craving.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 4: Design: 5, Novelty: 5

Pink heart is allegedly one of the most requested emojis. While highly anticipated, we already have so many embellished pink hearts, which takes the punch out of this plain version. A welcome addition to my simp-y texts to whoever I have a crush on, but nothing the red heart can’t do. I will admit in retrospect that my scores are a little trigger happy, but I’m sticking by them.

Goose

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 8.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 4, Novelty: 1

Sure, there’s already duck and swan but anyone else who is a fan of Untitled Goose Game knows a goose is simply different. It carries a unique level of contempt for humanity and an altogether different connotation. Not beauty or grace, not the sensation of sitting by a bucolic pond, but horrible-ness. Now, just give the goose a knife.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 4, Novelty: 4

Look at this dopey goose!!!!! I’m in love.

Khanda

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 8.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 5, Design: 1, Novelty: 3

I am not Sikh, so I probably probably won’t be turning to the religious symbol all that much. But, similar to the existing signifiers like the Latin Cross and Menorah, I can see it getting big usage on dating and social media profiles as a quick shorthand. Design-wise, it’s in the most boring category of emoji, but that’s fine– it doesn’t need to be flashy to be functional.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 3, Novelty: 5

I’m not a practicing Sikh, and I don’t readily have discussions about world religions, so the Khanda emoji will not be in my heavy rotation of emoticons, but I think it’s cool to see some representation of other cultures and religions in the emoji portfolio.

Shaking Head

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 9

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 2, Novelty: 2

I want to love Shaking Face, I really do. But my main qualm here is I’m not sure if this emoji is experiencing a profound, sense-of-self-splitting level of psychological distress or simply shaking its head “no.” Is it dissociating or emphatically disagreeing? Either way, I feel like the options are already out there across that emotional spectrum. There’s melting face, spiral eyes guy, and that big ‘ol red ‘X’ to choose from.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 4, Design: 4, Novelty: 3

The shaking head emoji is ominous. Are they confused? Afraid? Distressed? It’s not clear, which is problematic. It’s giving very much “Confused Mr. Krabs” meme energy, but Mr. Krabs conveyed the confusion of the human condition much better. I also think that maybe this is an emoji attempt to recreate the magic of the melting face, or the teary eyed face, or the star eyes face, except it leaves me feeling less seen and more off-put

Ginger

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 9

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 5, Novelty: 4

Ginger is undoubtedly a critical ingredient in lots of my go-to dinner recipes. But that doesn’t mean I’m constantly texting out visual representations of my whole grocery list. That said, it is a clearly and effectively designed emoji that sort of becomes its own category in the existing series of food pictographs.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Novelty: 2, Design 4

Contrasting Lauren’s opinion, I am not a ginger fan: She and I are truly the duality of man. I digress. I tried not to let my disdain for the root cloud my judgement, but I still ranked this fairly low. There’s just too many food emojis, but to its credit, it is very clearly ginger, and that needs to be celebrated.

Hair Pick

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 9.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 4, Novelty: 4

I recognise that I am not the target audience for this one, but it does nicely fill a niche in emoji representation. That said, I don’t know how often I’d think to reach for any sort of hairbrush or comb emoji. Grooming is low priority among my texting topics.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 3, Novelty: 5

There’s very few hair-related emojis, let alone for black hair, so I love that they’re including this. It’s definitely overdue, but the design itself is pretty plain, so I docked some points.

Wifi

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 9.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 5, Design: 1, Novelty: 3

How did we not already have this?? The internet needs a way to reference itself. This could be useful all the time: For conversations about connection, as a play on radar, and also for asking a roommate if the apartment Wi-Fi is working from the next room over.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Novelty: 3, Design: 5

I echo Lauren’s sentiment: How are we just getting this in 2022?

Pushing Hands

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 10.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 4, Design: 3, Novelty: 2

Talk to the hand — a verifiable classic! But ALSO the left and right option makes this emoji a primo choice for enacting high fives across the wi-fi waves. It’s another way to mime connection in our ever-isolating world.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 5, Design: 3, Novelty: 4

I’m a sassy texter, and when I do use emojis, I like them to convey that sassiness. The pushing hand feels like the spiritual successor to the judgmental finger in that it breaks the fourth wall of texting. I sincerely apologise in advance to my loved ones who will have to deal with me using the “pushing hand” on a daily basis to mean “I need you to stop speaking.”

Moose

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 10.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

Look, there are a lot of animal emojis out there and I love each and every one. When words and other emojis fail me, I frequently rely on a parade of select animal images to convey my inner thoughts. Moose is an A+ addition to the team. It’s unmistakable, charming, and LOOK AT THOSE ANTLERS.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

I will use the moose to immortalise my next trip to Yellowstone or Maine, but other than that I struggle to find an application for this in my day-to-day conversations (which are typically devoid of moose). What it lacks in applicability, the moose makes up for in design, which I spent too much time looking in awe at.

Folding Hand Fan

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 10.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 4, Novelty: 4

This one could be good for when it’s hot out, a pretty accessory, or a way to play on fandom. Utilitarian and nice, but not quite the best of the bunch.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 2, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

This is a fan, and I, unfortunately, am not one. Most of my points went to design, which is stunning, and novelty, but the application of it in my communication will probably never happen.

Jellyfish

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 11

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

An ethereal, beautiful, and flawless addition to the emoji seascape. Every aquarium needs a jellyfish. Anytime you need to warn your friends that the beach is overrun with a stinging menace, or simply communicate “no thoughts just vibes,” jellyfish will be there.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

I’m obsessed. Are we kidding? The jellyfish is a beaut and I don’t think I’ve seen a more beautiful emoji in my life. Hang this in the Louvre. While my stance on animal emojis is simple (I don’t use them a lot), I might make the effort to work the jellyfish into my “Frequently Used” emoji list.

Pea Pod

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 11

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 5, Design: 4, Novelty: 4

The whole crew is here! It’s food, it’s friends, it’s nice to look at. The perfect addition to any group chat when everyone texts the same thing at once. It’s #squadgoals exemplified. Friendship FTW.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 1, Design: 5, Novelty: 3

If there’s one thing emoji does right, it’s green vegetables. That said, there’s a lot of green vegetable emojis. However, I do enjoy the potential of using this to describe the unbreakable bond between myself and three other friends.

Donkey

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 12

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 5, Design: 4, Novelty: 3

The possibilities of use here are numerous. Mule, donkey, or arse there are endless ways I can imagine messaging this to all manner of acquaintance. Similarly to wi-fi, I can’t believe it took this long, but we are finally and truly entering the future.

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 5, Novelty: 4

The duality of this emoji are noteworthy. To reflect on my moose rating, I simply cannot think of a reason I would use a donkey emoji in my every day conversations. But to reflect on my pushing hand ranking, I find myself being able to call someone an “arse” much more effectively.

Maracas

2022’s New Emoji Finalists, Ranked

Overall Score: 12.5

Lauren’s Ranking:

Usability: 5, Design: 4, Novelty: 3

Visually striking party time! Maracas are joining the band and I could not be more hyped. These bad boys are top tier festive fun. No notes…except what if they came in different colours for my many maraca moods?

Kevin’s Ranking:

Usability: 3, Design: 5, Novelty: 5

I don’t think I’m prepared for how much I’m actually going to use this emoji, and I’d argue that the maracas might have a broad enough appeal to enter the upper echelon of emojis that everyone uses, along with the melting face and the nails being painting. The maracas are a match made in heaven for the emoji with the party hat, and I’ll probably find menial things to celebrate solely so I can send a text with the maraca emoji in it.