saluting face

I am a big fan of emoji. I don’t have a position on their suitability for inclusion in Unicode on first principles or anything. I just think they’re fun, and using them is convenient and makes life a little more whimsical.

One of the more recent updates to Unicode’s emoji repertoire is SALUTING FACE, meaning that there is now an emoji equivalent to the ASCII o7. (Let’s not get into the mirroring of the image right now, I have more serious topics to discuss.)

Here’s the saluting face emoji in Apple’s emoji set:

saluting face emoji

It’s a pretty reasonable emoji in the “yellow face just trying to live its life” category, which is a strong category to start with. It also makes clear once and for all that the yellow face is not a marine, which is one less thing for me to wonder about. The thing is, when I started using this emoji in place of o7, something started to nag at me. Visually, I wanted this to be “right half of yellow face’s face, with saluting hand”. It just didn’t seem like it was half the face, though. It seemed like at the far right edge, the tangent was sloping down, showing we were past the center. After days of squirming and feeling uncertain, I finally looked into it.

saluting face compared to neutral face

Well, there it is! The saluting face is clearly more than half of a standard yellow face. Also interesting is that NEUTRAL FACE’s mouth is far broader. I think this is more evidence to my long-held claim that it’s hardly a neutral face. It’s clearly an expression of suppressed annoyance, and probably somebody vetoed STOICALLY SUFFERING THROUGH NONSENSE FACE. Meanwhile, the saluting face is wearing a truly neutral expression, as you’d expect from someone on-duty and saluting.

I still liked to think we were seeing just half of saluting face’s face, though, and I mocked up an emoji that shows us the other half, maintaining proportions.

the whole saluting face

This is now the :salutes: emoji at work, and it sees a fair amount of use. I am glad to know that I have contributed something to our work culture, and especially that it is a way of showing one respects one’s duties.

Written on November 23, 2023