Microsoft introduced new Windows 11 emojis yesterday in the latest preview build 22478, but many Windows Insiders have been surprised as the new emojis look quite different from the 3D emojis previously teased by the Microsoft design team. The new Windows 11 emojis use a 2D design, and it’s safe to say that they don’t look as nice as the much more detailed 3D emojis we’ve seen before.
Yesterday, the Windows Insider team referred to the new emojis as the "new Fluent-designed emoji that would roll out across all of Microsoft 365 – including Windows”. We’ve included a comparison picture with the 3D emojis the Microsoft Design team showed in July below.
After some Windows Insiders started wondering what was happening with the original 3D emojis, Brandon LeBlanc from the Windows Insider team confirmed on Twitter that Windows 11 will use the 2D emojis:
No, for Windows 11 we're using the 2D versions. Thanks!
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) October 14, 2021
although he later said "I don't have anything more to share on where the 3D versions of the emoji will appear today - we're only talking about what's in the build that was released today to Insiders in the Dev Channel."
Responding to another tweet accusing Microsoft’s social media channels of a “scam” for using the previously-seen 3D emojis, LeBlanc explained that this was a mistake and that the “wrong graphics” had been used.
No, they didn't scam you. You're exaggerating this a bit. They simply used the wrong graphics. Sorry about that. Will make sure they use the right ones going forward.
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) October 15, 2021
Looking back at the original blog post from the Microsoft Design team featuring the 3D emojis, this post explicitly said that the team had "opted for 3D designs over 2D and chose to animate the majority of our emoji,” confirming along the way that the 3D emojis would "roll out in product over the coming months,” and that "(t)he set will come to Teams and Windows this holiday season." However, the Windows Insider team pretty much contradicted that yesterday by saying that the new Fluent-Designed emojis would "roll out across all of Microsoft 365 - including Windows."
Microsoft may have had good reasons to implement 2D emojis in Windows 11 instead of the 3D versions we previously saw, and we've reached out to the company to know more about what happened. While there's nothing really wrong with these new Fluent-Designed emojis, it's still easy to point this out as another example of bad communication from Microsoft. It's always a risky thing to promise something and later under-deliver, though there are probably more important things to be mad about these days, right?