Thoughts on the Rupee symbol

This post has been sitting around in my “drafts” for more than a year now. I just figured I would get it out of the way — better late than never.

In March 2009, the Indian government (specifically, the Finance Ministry) announced a contest to design a symbol for the Indian Rupee. Sometime in April, the Ministry put out a press release listing all the eligible applicants; there were around 2300 eligible candidates it seems.

At some point after that, images of a few of the designs started surfacing:

Rupee Symbols
Rupee Symbols

As is the case with most Indian Government websites, the Financial Ministry website is a disaster. There is very little useful information there, there is no way to search for information. Case in point — I was not able to find any information about the design contest on their website. The image above is the result of a Google search.

Couple of thoughts on the designs above (note that I do not know if these are even actual candidates. I’m assuming they are):

  • It isn’t entirely clear to me why we need a symbol in the first place. Sure, writing ‘$’ is probably nicer than writing ‘USD’, but ‘Rs’ isn’t all that bad.
  • Any symbol for a currency should be really simple to draw. Simple. You should be able to draw it by hand in a few strokes. How many of the above designs do you find that simple?
  • Even if we pick a symbol, for it to actually start getting used, it has to be readily available on all computing platforms. Does Unicode have a provision for adding new symbols?

In December 2009, the Economic Times reported that the Ministry had shortlisted five finalists. Really? Wow. Again, no information to be found from the Ministry itself. It would have been pretty amazing (and easy to set up) if the Ministry had set up a public poll and asked Indian citizens which symbol they liked best.

Does anyone know what happened to the Indian rupee symbol design contest? I couldn’t find anything on Google after December 2009.

7 comments

  1. Kumar shiv

    PURA COMPTITION PREE FIX LAGTA HAI. IS BARE ME KOI THOS KARVAHI KE JANEE CAHIYE. KORI PRADARSITA NAHI KE GAYE. SUB GOLMAL HAI.

  2. Sreeparna

    I had actually sent in an entry I designed myself ( was really idle i guess :|)
    Anyway, I haven’t heard anything about it either.
    I think the ministry chucked the idea of a symbol.

    • Simran Thadani

      really? just by changing how we denote our currency? REALLY? it all seems a bit jingoistic to me (not to mention that many instances of the symbol are ugly and jarring to a typography aficionado like myself, simply because noone bothered to take the time to tweak the symbol for various fonts.

Leave a Reply