There’s been a lot of talk and discussion around the new identity for the Indian Rupee. The currency now has it’s very own symbol – and the Indians are all saying, “Why wasn’t this done sooner?” I, for one, am happy that it got done at all. The process and the award might be suspect [ there’s speculation that the publicly declared number of applications – 3,000 in number – are a lot less than the actual figure – supposed to be somwhere around 25,000 – accordingly, the winner should have received a lot more than just the INR 2,50,000 as award money. Each applicant had to pay INR 500 as registration / participation fee. Simple Math. ]

Coming to the design of the symbol itself : it has been designed by an IIT graduate, Udaya Kumar. I love the design. It is supposed to represent the “R” from the English language – giving credence to the fact that this country runs on English and there are no two ways about it. The identity also represents the Devanagari script with the same letter representing the “R” character in this script as well. Which is, quite fantastic in my opinion.

A company going by the name of Foradian has also released a font for the same where the keyboard key ‘`’ to the left of the ‘1’ numeral, types in the Indian Rupee Symbol. The font hasn’t been rendered well and needs polishing – probably in collaboration with the designer, Udaya or someone who is a type-designer.

The typeface definitely needs work – apart from that, the identity itself is fantastic in terms of concept as well as basic execution. While the double horizontal bars might seem redundant to some, it helps tie the identity in with the rest of the world currency symbols, many of which have double bars – either vertical or horizontal. Identity design isn’t just about a glorified concept, it is also about practical use and international implications – it would be foolish to think that identity design, at any scale, is local or even national. Traveling tourists that capture Obama’s photograph on hoarding advertising a restaurant, make the identity-world quite flat.

I’m actually quite taken in with the new identity and am pleasantly surprised that the Indian Government did not pick something irrelevant, stupid, political or downright disgusting. If we could glean more information about the selection process and who were the people involved in this decision, we might be able to identify a design champion hiding in the Parliament.

Her’s a slightly more refined version in my opinion – one without the top horizontal bar as well.

I’m no type designer but the EPS files for both these symbols are available for download here. Right click and save.

There’s a comprehensive listing of world currency symbols on here and some of the major / top world currency symbols like the Euro, the Dollar, the Yen/Yuan and the Pound, all have two parallel bars. And yes, an identity does need to ‘fit-in’ at some level. Doesn’t mean you can’t get innovative with it, just means that it needs to be recognizable without alienating the majority.

The following two wallpapers are also available for download : the 1400px x 900px versions.