RE: invented colors too? Encoding of invented items (from RE: Assigning a plane for mapping digits for many different bases)

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Thu Mar 10 2011 - 19:35:09 CST

  • Next message: Erkki I Kolehmainen: "RE: Encoding of invented items (from RE: Assigning a plane for mapping digits for many different bases)"

    The short answer is, No. E.g., if Microsoft were to come to UTC asking for characters that mean ‘red’, ‘blue’, etc., then I can all but guarantee that other Unicode members would strongly oppose this. (Needless to say, Microsoft will not propose this.

    Now, there’s a subtlety to be explained wrt encoding of emoji: some of the emoji used in Japanese telco character sets had presentation that differed from one another only by their colour. For interop purposes, it was necessary to encode distinct characters in Unicode. As a result, you will encounter characters like U+1F534 LARGE RED CIRCLE. An entirely appropriate way this could be presented might be using a _red_ coloured circle. But as far as Unicode is concerned, RED in this case is basically an indicator of its meaning in the source character set, not a normative requirement for how it is presented. This, it would also be entirely appropriate, as far as Unicode is concerned, to present this as a blue or green or black circle. In fact, Unicode itself _does_ present it as a black circle in the code charts.

    Thus, you might look at character names and get the impression that Unicode has encoded colours, but that would be a simplistic interpretation that really doesn’t match reality. Such compatibility characters are, however, the closest you’re likely to see Unicode code to encoding colours.


    From: [] On Behalf Of JP Blankert (thuis & PC based)
    Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 4:04 PM
    To: Michael Everson
    Cc: unicode Unicode Discussion; "Blankert (privé), Jean Philippe"
    Subject: invented colors too? Encoding of invented items (from RE: Assigning a plane for mapping digits for many different bases)

    Dear unicoders,

    I will add to you misery by adding an even more stupid question than 'invented characters':

    invented colours = other colors than black, can that ever be part of character coding?

    (I know colors are put in another statement in html, but to try think beyond borders).

    Invented signs or colors could commercially be very valuable in domain names. If for example coca cola could encode such that nor 'lettertype' nor color would be 'neutralised' in a domain name, and it would be the first drink to achieve this, it would have an impact.

    (not that I am in favour of invented signs/colours, just testing whether it is possible when a big company wants it. Out of 10 stupid questions often 1 proves accidentally to be visionary).


    Philippe Blankert

    On 10-3-2011 20:22, Michael Everson wrote:

    On 10 Mar 2011, at 16:41, Peter Constable wrote:

    Consider, for example, my idea of localizable sentences.

    Which, you have been told many times, is a bad idea.

    Come on, Peter. You really need a curmudgeon's hat. Since you haven't got one, I'll put it on.



    You obviously don't get it. What you propose is IMPOSSIBLE.

    Now, since you don't believe me, please go and buy Arika Okrent's book The Land of Invented Languages and read the chapter "John Wilkins and the Language of Truth". What you propose is just exactly what Wilkins proposed, and he could not succeed because it is IMPOSSIBLE.

    So give over, already.

    Michael Everson *

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