Principles

Mutant Standard was created in 2017 partly to exist as a counterpoint and a wedge to the centralised and commercialised world of Unicode emoji. As such, Mutant Standard is built around a few main principles:

Decentralising culture


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One group of people should not be deciding a cultural product for the rest of the world.

The actual process of being open to the world and to diverse groups of people and cultures is a lot more work than what has been sold to us, and we should recognise that and recognise and take historic imbalances and ignorances seriously.

The solution to this kind of situation isn't shutting off people from each other, but being in the shared recognition that culture should be open for anyone to produce so that it is in more peoples' hands and so it actually provides relevance, joy and autonomy to the most people.

De-corporatising culture


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Emoji was originally a feature to sell more phones. In a way, it's core function hasn't changed very much.

Emoji's original characters were created by Japanese telecom companies, and these characters provide much of the baseline of the Emoji characters we use now.

While today, Unicode is an industry group that has a degree separation from the corporations that support it, emoji adoption and interest has always largely been driven by corporations. Corporations are also ultimately the groups that create the emoji pictures, which is just as important a role as Unicode's in selecting what designs to make in the first place.

Despite their own claims to the contrary, corporations are abstract entities made to produce profit and nothing else. As such, they are not adequate caretakers of culture, and should not be charged with the responsibility of influencing it like they do. Yet, as a part of culture, emoji is another means with which people can be culturally influenced.

Emoji throughout it's entire history so far is a corporate product, and we should recognise this and use this as a way to resist corporate influence.

Engaging with the world


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The world is not a finite, concrete entity. There is not just one way of seeing it. However, with the way it's presented to us, Unicode emoji often embodies this ignorance. It not only contains a narrow version of the world, but also embodies the status quo - which today means a brutal and failing world.

Mutant Standard as a project, by what it creates and what it advocates, aims to engage with the challenging, difficult, awful aspects of our time, instead of sitting on the sidelines or worsening it like many tech companies do. It aims to provide a more unusual, more thoughtful and more altruistic vision of the world, because the world needs nothing less at this point in time.