Windows 11’s new emoji isn’t as 3D as Microsoft promised

Microsoft originally promised new 3D emoji for Windows 11 and various other products earlier this year. Now the company has gone for a 2D flat look instead, with the new emoji debuting in Dev Channel builds of Windows 11 this week.

The style is a lot different to the 3D emoji that Microsoft promised in July, and even in recent tweets from the official Windows Twitter accounts. Microsoft appears to have changed its mind on going 3D inside Windows 11. “For Windows 11 we’re using the 2D versions,” says Brandon LeBlanc, a senior program manager on the Windows Insider team. LeBlanc also says Microsoft “used the wrong graphics” in recent tweets.

It’s not clear why Microsoft hasn’t adopted its 3D designs in Windows 11, despite promises to do so, but it’s likely because a flatter 2D design works better across multiple applications. 3D designs also look different across a variety of screens and resolutions, so Microsoft has likely settled on a 2D design for a more consistent representation of its emoji for all Windows 11 users.

We’re still expecting to see the 3D style appear elsewhere in Microsoft products though, particularly in Microsoft Teams where animated emoji exists. The new emoji in Windows 11 also includes the return of Clippy, as Microsoft has removed the standard paperclip emoji with its Clippy character. Microsoft is testing this emoji in recent Dev Channel builds of Windows 11, but it’s expected to rollout to all users soon.