Please note: this competition is closed

We're putting it to the public to design and vote on a new emoji that we will submit to the Unicode Consortium for consideration – it's the ultimate public sculpture commission!

Just like there are different kinds of fruit emojis and building emojis, we want to celebrate the medium of sculpture by creating a new emoji to be a companion to the Easter Island head () and Statue of Liberty (). We envisage the sculpture emoji as an art complement to the framed picture emoji (), which lives in the Objects category, rather than residing in the Travel & Places category alongside the Easter Island head and Statue of Liberty.


Design requirements:

Sculpture is a varied and diverse medium. We'd like your help in designing an emoji that becomes the universal language of sculpture and can be shared by sculpture-lovers around the world. Remember that the design needs to work at a small scale. 

  • Submit one (72 x 72 pixels) colour PNG image of the design. The image should extend to the sides of the cell (i.e. no extra padding). The background of the main image should be transparent.
  • Submit one scale example of the design next to one of the following 'reference' emojis:  or 
  • Please note that Unicode, who is the body that oversees emojis, exclude the following: logos, brands, UI icons, signage, specific people, specific buildings and deities.
  • Bear in mind that Unicode likes emojis that can have multiple uses/meanings. For example, the sweat drops () could be used for rain, water, etc.

How to enter:

  1. Following the above requirements, submit your emoji design to by Saturday 31st August 2019. Include your full name and phone number.
  2. Our panel of judges will review entries and create a shortlist of the top four designs.
  3. We'll put the top four designs to a public vote on our Twitter account.
  4. We will work with the winning designer to submit their sculpture emoji for consideration to the Unicode Consortium.*

*Please note that the final decision of whether the design becomes an official emoji lies with the Unicode Consortium. We will work with the winning designer to meet final design requirements for the application, including creating a black-and-white version of the emoji that is suitable for fonts.

The Mathematician

The Mathematician

1873–1874, Redhall freestone by William Brodie (1815–1881)

The judges:

Cornelia Parker's work is often concerned with formalising things beyond our control, containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative like the 'eye of the storm'. She is fascinated with processes in the world that mimic cartoon 'deaths' – steamrollering, shooting full of holes, falling from cliffs and explosions. Her large scale installations allow the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.

Clare Lilley is Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which in 2014 was named Art Fund Museum of the Year. Since 2012 she has curated Frieze Sculpture in Regent's Park and she sits on the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection. Clare contributes to journals, conferences, panel discussions and art prizes worldwide. 

Rana Begum is a visual artist whose work bridges the divides between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her work incorporates light and draws from the urban landscape and geometric patterns from traditional Islamic art and architecture. 

Tabloid Art History was a social media blog and zine exploring the intersections between art and popular culture, running from 2016 to May 2019. Their hot takes on art were featured in publications such as Vogue, Paper Magazine and The Guardian. The editors were Chloe Esslemont, Elise Bell and Mayanne Soret.

Ferren Gipson, Social Media Marketer at Art UK

Special thanks to our partner The Dots, who are helping to spread the word about the sculpture emoji competition.

The sculpture emoji initiative is inspired by Art UK's ongoing Sculpture Project, which wouldn't be possible without The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has generously agreed to provide £2.8m of the funding, and Art UK successfully raised the remaining £1m from a range of donors. Find out more about Art UK's Sculpture Project.