The Alterhuman Media Project

Mutant Standard Is "The New Emoji Standard For Freaks"

Source: Dzuk on Mastodon

Graphic designer and orc Dzuk is the creator of Mutant Standard, an alternative emoji set. It contains pride flags and standard emoji reworked to be gender neutral, but of particular interest to us are the fantasy race icons and skin colors to match.

Dzuk started making them for zirself because ze didn't feel like zir experiences or personality could be conveyed accurately with the existing Unicode set. Regarding publicly representing zirself as an orc online, ze says on the site, "I've generally always wished there were some green skin variants of emoji to feel more emotionally connected to what I was posting online."

When ze showed them off publicly around the middle of 2017, there was interest enough that ze found the drive to create an entire set. Now,the project intends to make itself as compatible with the existing Unicode set as possible along with adding more fantasy items, nonhuman body parts and miscellaneous fun stuff. It's still in its early stages, but you can keep up with its progress at

Emoji have become so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to critically think about what they represent. They set standards, Newspeak-like, for what it's 'normal' to talk about. Of course emoji don't completely dictate what a person is capable of thinking or talking about, but something being accessible as an emoji makes it more accessible as an idea.

Or, to put it in Dzuk's words: "...emoji feels very much like this dumbass white anglophone corporatist idea of 'universal language', and by extension, 'universal experience'".

This is why the inclusion of skin color options and a pride flag in 2015-16 were so important. It's why the upcoming addition of a saltire in Emoji 5.0 is of emotional significance to the Scottish. And it's why the idea of alternative emoji sets for nonhumans is so exciting.

The prospect of a decentralized emoji system is pretty exciting too. Mutant Standard is already demonstrating the good that putting a communication tool in the hands of the people who actually need and use it can do. Whether or not it revolutionizes everyone's communication concerning nonhuman identities, it's still ultimately helping to make a lot of alterhuman people feel much more comfortable in their online skin.

Do you feel represented by the current emoji selection? What would you add? Let us know in the comments, and maybe pass your thoughts along to Dzuk as well! As well as on its website you can follow and comment on the progress of Mutant Standard on Mastodon, Ello, Discord, and Telegram.

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