Unicode, the standard for consistent encoding of the world’s writing systems, is a bedrock of modern multilingual typesetting and web design. February saw a major update to this standard to Unicode 6.0. The update adds a further 2,088 characters taking the total to an awe inspiring 109,384.
The update adds 222 additonal CJK Unified Ideographs and 603 additional characters for African language support. It also includes the new Indian rupee sign, designed last year. Three scripts are supported for the first time: Mandaic, Batak and Brahmi. New blocks of characters are also added for areas such as playing cards, transport symbols and alchemical symbols.
Of course, the fact that these characters have been added to the standard does not mean that fonts exist to support them yet but some, such as the rupee sign, are likely to find swift adoption.
A full description of the additions, and complete character tables for the entire standard, are available online at unicode.org