New Indian Rupee Symbol (and the Problems with the Design)

by anil on August 26, 2010

India gets new currency symbol. Whole of India is excited about it and so am I. Now waiting for type face designers to include the symbol in my favorite fonts.

Government of India approved a currency symbol design contest last year. And the year-long competition came to an end and the winner is an IIT’ian. He designed a symbol which is described as “combination of the Devanagiri letter ‘Ra’ and the Roman letter ‘R'”; both first letter of the Indian currency name “Rupee”.

Indian Rupee Symbol

Indian Rupee Symbol (curtsey Wikipedia)

Many people around the world still think that India, along with the neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh share the same currency. So this move is going to make Indian Rupee distinctive. Media welcomed the symbol as it shows off the strength of the up coming currency.

But I see some problems with its design!

Have you tried using this symbol? Not yet? Pick a pen and try it yourself right now before you read further.

Well, how does it look? Just look at your best attempt. And now try writing Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euro symbols and see. I don’t expect you to be a freehand drawing expert; but as a common man, what do you think? Can you see a difference? What’s the problem?

Besides proportion requirements, this symbol needs those “calligraphy edges” for that finished look. Its elegance depends a lot on those beveled edges and that is quite unfortunate. To create those edges, you need thick lines. That is the problem here: this symbol won’t look as good in thin lines line (i.e. while writing with regular pen or in regular font set)! This symbol needs to be bold face–always.

Compare this with other currency symbols we know. What is it missing? Here is my list:

  1. A good shape that is tolerant to imperfection while writing.
  2. A good shape that would look good irrespective of the thickness of the line it is drawn with.
  3. A good shape that has a fairly good degree of symmetry. A symmetric symbol has lot of flexibility and possibilities while designing type faces. And easy to draw too.

The symbol started appearing in news papers and other print media already. People try experimenting with it now in headlines and advertisements where they can use a bold type face. Now my mind is getting conditioned to it though I am yet to see it in body texts.

I wish someone could come up with a one-pixel version of the symbol so that it can used in body texts. Also a variant for writing by hand.


Twitter Trackbacks…

by Anonymous on August 26, 2010 at 3:22 am. #

Good thinking! Never thought about actually writing that down and seeing for myself!

by vijayakrishnan on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm. #

I Too Tried. It was difficult. We have to find a better one.

by Chithrasenan N E on September 30, 2010 at 7:00 pm. #

Good observation. I too tried writing it down and felt that it doesn’t hold well as a symbol. Was never impressed by this symbol.

by Krishna G S on October 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm. #


You have just hit the bull eye, let me tell you one more thing when you try to create this symbol at even Font 4 size.. both horizontal lines merged !

Now let me tell you reason why we have this faulty symbol :

Rupee symbol selection process was a big scam and guys are fighting legally against gov. decision in court at present.

Down below are some chilling facts about Indian Rupee Symbol selection process exposed by RTI activists !

1. Non-eligible (submitted 4 designs – guidelines allowed only 2) candidate D Uaday Kumar (Son of influencal DMK Leader)declared winner.

2. One finalist Nondita Correa( daughter of influencal congress member written letter to prime minister)was shortlisted in top five finalist.

3. Design concept or brief was not put in front of jury along with Indian Rupee symbol design.

4. No marks or grades were allotted to selected (2644) candidates design entries, in the process of shortlisting top five finalist design entries.

5. Jury had spends less than 20 seconds on each design entries to analyze it.

6. Three jury member were absent in two days long meeting dated 29th Sept. and 30th Sept. 2009.

7. One jury member from Ministry of Culture was absent on the day of final presentation.

8. All seven jury member had never meet in this whole selection process in any given time.

9. No records are available with Finance Ministry which could indicated, how many total design entries Finance Ministry had received ?

10. Advertisement was only published in English (only 23% Indian understand)language.

Media for the first time in the history of India has gone into a mysterious silence over the fraud played by the organizers of symbol for rupee competition .

In the past the same media specially electronic media has entered the bedrooms of the people to expose them and bring in-front of the world and played the news 24×7.

But this time when the things are crystal clear before them they have gone into the shell.

by Rohan on December 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm. #

Hello Rohan,

Thanks for your informative post. Never thought so much was there behind it.

As you have noticed already, typesetters are struggling with this design as it doesn’t look good while placed along with similar sized text.

I was surprised to read that “the second stage of selection focused on the finer details of the design” which included “easy to write and typecast” (see:


by anil on December 8, 2010 at 10:59 am. #

Hi, Selected symbol by Government is mix devnagri script(Ra–Hindi) and Roman script (R–English) it is clear Violation of article 351 the constitution of india.English not add 8th List of constituion of India.

2nd violation-Guideline of indian rupee symbol compt. “The symbol has to be in the Indian National Language script or a visual representation.”” Very shooking media and Political ledar and Constitution Expart not cair in this Imp. Point.

The article 351 constitution of india.
” Directive for development of the Hindi language It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages PART XVIII EMERGENCY PROVISIONS”

Total 22 Languages of India at prssent time.

Hon’ble Smt. Ambica soni, Minster Information and Brodcostin, government of india all rdey Explane–Zee news vedio link..(9th minits)

Why Cabinet approved without legal discus. Why media and Legal Expart silent.

by Rocy on December 31, 2010 at 3:28 pm. #

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