We reported last year that Taco Bell was taking up a cause the Taco Lifestyle has advocated for a few years now– adding a taco emoji. In that same report, we asked that the taco emoji be based on an authentic taco and not the American fast-food version. Some of our friends on Twitter asked us to put up or shut up and show the world what an authentic version might look like.
Challenge accepted– artist Andy Eo offered to do a version of an authentic mexican taco that we could share with Unicode, various designers, and our readers to counter Taco Bell’s version. Our version had to be obviously a taco, have some of the same colorful attributes as the generic “taco” that is the current standard-bearer, but also be authentic and true to the taco’s roots.
We decided to go with four ingredients that bring colorful and bright elements but add up to something that could only be a taco– tortilla, carne asada, cilantro, and cebolla (onion). Tan, Brown, Green, and White. The differences between this and the fast-food taco are small but important– our taco does not have ground beef, cheese, lettuce, or a hardshell tortilla but it is still clearly a taco and is delicious.
During the process our artist said that perhaps a plate of tacos would be appropriate and we realized that there should actually be two taco emojis. One for a singular taco, and one for a plate of tacos like you would get at any truck in Mexico or all over the world. This adds radish, lime, and salsa rojo to the plate.
Just as there are various types of sushi in the emoji alphabet, there should be two tacos– the single taco is fun and can be used in infinite ways, whereas the plate of tacos conjures up the ideas of eating together, hitting a taco truck with friends, describing a meal to come etc.
Currently only one taco emoji is under discussion, but once that one is added we can also advocate for the plate of tacos. It will take additional artists to get these down to proper emoji size, with all the shading and other work involved in creating something at that size, but for now please feel free to download and text the ones below, which are slightly larger than emoji: