Some users are unhappy with Microsoft’s final emoji graphics for Windows 11, released this week. Microsoft’s earlier presentation of emoji design changes for Windows 11 appears to have been off the mark. If we’re talking about the presentation matching the final product – which we weren’t – it wasn’t very accurate.
According to Microsoft, Windows Insiders will use “New Fluent Emoji” in Build 22478. This build will be available for download this week. Support for Unicode emoji up to Emoji 13.1 is also included in this update. Users will be able to access all emoji with the standard Windows key combination (WIN and.) – that is, the Windows button and a period at the same time – once the update is installed.
Microsoft first announced a redesign of emoji for Windows 11 in July. Microsoft presented new emoji imagery at the time as being surprisingly 3D, shaded, lively, and bright.
So, hold on a second, you might be thinking. Why are these new emoji so much flatter than the ones that were released in July?
The fact that the original presentation was a little… overzealous is part of the reason we don’t see the same imagery in emoji with this latest update. These graphics were reportedly designed to look like the animated, cartoonish, and social media-friendly representations of the emoji used in the real world.
It’s similar to what we’ve seen with Mojang (a Microsoft subsidiary) presenting Minecraft Live 2021. They’re still using pixelated graphics, but they’re not the same as in the standard game version of Minecraft.
Or… at least, that would have been the extent of the truth if it hadn’t been for Microsoft’s comments this afternoon. As recently as October 8, according to Windows Inside’s Brandon LaBlanc, parts of Microsoft were using the “wrong graphics” for the public presentation of these emojis.
On the other hand, according to @TheActualTech, Windows 11 may use three iterations of this new set of emojis in the future. Flat (as seen by default), High Contrast (black lines style), and “Shaded” are the three options. The Shaded version isn’t the same as the one we saw in July, but it’s a lot closer than the Flat or High Contrast versions. Also, see this post from July about the emoji design, which shows each of the three: Microsoft design on Instagram.
So don’t be concerned! In Windows 11, we have a smidgeon more 3D-ish emoji. It’s just… not as 3D as was suggested in July.