Here is some of the details from the entry I had submitted to Indian Rupee Symbol Design Contest.
The Proposed symbol of “Rupee” is the synergy of several themes namely: antiquity and modernity; Indian-ness and the International culture; the East and West. The symbol has all the elements that projects its attributes that are strongly recognizably Indian about it and at the same time it has all the characteristics that makes it a part of the family of popular international currency symbols such the Pound (£), the US dollar ($), Yen (Y) and Euro (€). The focus of the design of this symbol was mainly along the following lines. Thematic aspect of the symbol : The symbol of Rupee must represent the unique characteristics of the essence of India — the symbol must be representative of what we can recognize as Indian character. Historically it must represent country’s rich past and it must present itself as the attestation of one of the culturally pregnant civilization. It must represent the India’s concept uniqueness in acting as a bridge for the East and West. Also it must signify the Indian spirit in “unity in diversity” — representing the fact that in today’s troubled times India can be an example in how people of different cast , race, color, language and religion live together in harmony and proper. Last but not the least, thematically the symbol must live upto the promise that Rupee is committing to the world at large that it has the stability which is required by any currency to be the player in the global stage.
Design aspect of the symbol:
The design must truthfully represent the symbol’s connection to the root of Indian Rupee. The design must be technically sound so that when used on the real life scenario it can be easily rendered on different devices and media with varying parameters such as resolution and color depths. Apart from preserving its uniqueness as Indian the design has to technically appealing eyes and psyche of the global mass. The symbol has to be designed in such a way that for foreign eyes it should not look alien. In other words it must represent “the fact that it is a player on the world stage”. The technical aspect of the design of the symbol must follow the world standards in for good iconography such as:
Simple graphics, strong and easy to write – a single symbol .
- Even weight – not overloaded with strokes or have any minor unnecessary lines .
- Width not exceeding that of a zero – so it can fit into columns for company reports and accounting .
- It should have a visual link with existing well-known currency symbols .
- It should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to write by hand.
For this, the design is based on the concept of careful selection of glyphs/script elements from the two representative languages scripts – Devanāgarī and Latin Script/ English scripts. The symbol mainly takes glyphs from Devanāgarī to refer to the rich heritage and cultural ethos of India.
The origin of the word “rupee” is found in the Sanskrit word rūp or rūpyāh, which means “wrought silver,” originally “something provided with an image, a coin,” from rupah “shape, likeness, image.” The Sanskrit word rūpyakam (Devanāgarī: रूप्यकम् ) means coin of silver. Also the case is true for the Hindi word rūpyāh (i.e. रुपया ), that was coined by Sher Shah Suri (1538-1545 AD) who introduced the silver Rupayya or Rupee coin. So from Hindi language : रुपया the proposed symbol takes the first character.
Considering this the symbol takes its character from the First two characters (i.e. “Ru”)of the English name “Rupee”. Of course , the representation of the different characters from the two polar opposite script system (English standing for Western Philosohy and Devanagari as a part of Eastern philosophy) were represented in such a way that it results in an unique design concept that do justice to both of the script systems. The ”Ru” comes from the the Latin script/English script that is most representative of the West , its culture and historical ethos and by making it the part of the symbol makes it truly the point of synergy that represents the world harmony and peaceful coexistence of different cultural and regional elements. This also is the representative of India’s nature of tolerance and respect for different languages and culture, on the basis of which different people of varied cultural, language and racial domains live together and prosper in India even in today’s troubled times.
Attempts were also made that the glyph elements are merged in such a way to create the new aesthetic graphical representation that will contain in it-self the memory of the traditional use of abbreviations of the word “Rupee” and ”Rupees” as “Rp” and “Rs” respectively. If the proposed symbol is closely observed , next to R the “s” seems to be there in Flipped vertically. Similarly the presence of “p” next to “R” can be felt where “p” seems to be flipped with 90 degree clockwise. Representing these two aspects with out any prominence in the symbol shows how these two past elements of “Rupee” character are deprecated.
The expectation from the proposed symbol references the fact that this could be a powerful part of the country’s brand iconography, a signal of stability. And the concept of “stability” can be easily convinced by the international mass through the use of “horizontal lines” found in almost all the currency symbols. The lines provide the symbol the required visual link with existing well-known currency symbols – and that makes it visually one of the same family of symbols that of others and preserving its uniqueness at the same time.
The symbol uses even lines of same thickness for its representation. As the soul focus behind symbol is to make it from a “simple graphical elements that will make it easy to write and easy to remember”. Apart from this the symbol is designed with the spirit to look unique as well as with the familiarity elements in the family of other major currency symbols. Last but not the least the concept is to have a clean and even weight – not overloaded with strokes or have any minor unnecessary lines.
The symbol design must be applicable to the standard key board – keeping in mind that the design will be used by various Font makers to create varied form of the symbol to include it in their Font sets.
As the design is most targeted to be represented as an Font character in Uni-Code (currently “Rs” is placed at 20A8 position in Unicode chart), it must be designed in such a way that it will render properly and evenly even in relatively small resolutions and lower color-depth screens (such as mobile devices, portable digital players etc.)
Every effort has been made to make the proposed symbol representative of the India in all its aspects and easily comprehensible to the eyes of international mass.
(Click the above image to see it in A4 size to view how it is applicable to standard key board )
The symbol is as simple as writing the hindi character “रू” by hand (which has been used by people for a long time to represent rupee word in Hindi). Here is a simple clip image showing how easy it is to write the symbol by hand:
(The symbol was also tested on various lower resolution small screen devices to check if it renders well at small font sizes. )