According to a media report on rediff.com, the Rupee symbol has been selected. I’m not aware of who the members of the selection committee were and whether they represented a good mix of design, politics, foreign relations and history backgrounds. I also believe that the ‘commons’ should have also had a say in the selection process of their county’s currency symbol. If I were to come to a conclusion, I would select 5 best designs and throw it open for a vote across the country. Social Media is a good way to do it.
I do know that most of us are going to welcome the symbol with open hearts and wouldn’t have cared much even if it was to be two parallel lines. But, I care. Design is very close to my heart and the backbone of what I do. So, here is my deconstruction.
The designer, Udaya Kumar said: “My design is based on the Tricolour, with two lines at the top and white space in between. I wanted the symbol for the Rupee to represent the Indian flag. It is a perfect blend of Indian and Roman letters: a capital ‘R’, and Devanagari ‘ra’, which represent rupiya, to appeal to international and Indian audiences.”
1. The correlation between the english ‘R’ and Devnagiri ‘Ra’ is obvious and maybe the first thing that would have come to a designer’s mind. But, it is also the more memorable about the symbol. I’m happy the designer stuck to it. Pro: Easy to remember and recollect.
2. Representation of the Indian flag with two lines and white space in the middle doesn’t come through. It very well, could have represented Netherlands, Nicarguay, Niger, Paraguay, Tajikistan, Yemen or Yougoslavia whose flags are also essentially three horizontal stripes with white as the middle one. Con: Irrelevant.
3. Suggestion: Simplify. A currency symbol inherently, should be the simplest form of an idea or concept you’re trying to convey. Therefore, if the above point is taken, I would suggest that the bar on the top can be done away with. We would still have the form representing ‘R’ or ‘Ra’. The only change would be that it would not represent the designer’s idea of Indian flag which is irrelevant, anyways. I would also like to add here, that the Indian flag is represented not by the three number of bands and white space in the middle, but by the colours of the bands and most importantly, the chakra.
4. The form is not balanced. The eye goes on the the upper part of the form and stops. This problem will be eliminated to quite an extent, if the top bar is removed and will render the form some breathing space. Con: It is top heavy and does not allow the eye to follow the beautiful curve of the ‘Ra’
5. Suggestion: Following Symmetry in asymmetry. Symmetry gives a form perfection and asymmetry lends it interest. Asymmetry is an inherent characteristic in the ‘Ra’ form. However, I’m believe the position of the second bar should have been such that it intersects the ‘Ra’ arc in two. This would lend a symmetry to the form.
6. Another point I would like to highlight here is actually a derivative if all the above suggestion were to be followed. Ease of writing. The dollar symbol, $ evolved from a two vertical bars to just one for the ease of writing. Implementing this learning, I would most definitely do away with the top bar.
a. Remove top stroke
b. Bring the second stroke (the only remaining bar) to the centre of the ‘Ra’ arc.
c. Concept: Bringing together two scripts – English and Devanagiri. Follows the bar convention.