India’s Currency Gets a Symbol


India’s Currency Gets a Symbol and Takes Its Place among World Leaders in Currency

What benefit does a logo design give a company or a product? Outside of standard branding benefits, a logo can distinguish your business from its competitors and show that you are an established entity in your field. This is exactly what the Indian cabinet is hoping that the new rupee symbol will do for their nation’s currency.

The currency was chosen from several different entries from budding designers around the nation. Indian citizens were asked to submit their different design ideas. These were judged by a panel and reduced to five possibilities. The winner was Uday Kumar, a teacher at the Indian Institutes of Technology. He will be awarded £3500 for his design in addition to the prestige and national media attention coming with his win.

The design features the Hindi letter most similar to an R with an additional bar across its centre similar to that seen on a Euro. The design was chosen for its simplicity and memorability as well as its connections to both the rupee and Indian culture.

Why does the rupee need a symbol? First, like any business, it needs to differentiate itself. In this case, the currency needs to distinguish itself from two other currencies with the same name from the nearby countries of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Until now, saying ‘rupee’ could create confusion, so the Indian currency was often referred to as an Indian rupee with the abbreviation INR.

Second, the Indian rupee is adopting a symbol to take its place among other world currencies. The Indian cabinet is confident that the currency will be an important part of the world’s future economic situation. The economy is currently growing at almost ten per cent every year, and is expected to replace China as the fastest growing economy within the next two decades. This will place the rupee next to other famous currencies such as the dollar, the euro, the pound, and the yen. It should be noted that all of these have their own symbol.

Introducing the rupee symbol could come with a high price tag. For example, the introduction of the euro is estimated to have cost more than $50 billion. However, the rupee symbol will not be printed onto the actual currency, which should help keep costs lower. Most world currencies do not include their symbol on their currency, so this is not at all unusual. The new rupee symbol will, however, be placed on keyboards in the nation and also be included in international Unicode Standard.

Having a distinctive visual identity is an important part of establishing your business as a legitimate part of the local community. India is trying to accomplish the same goal through similar means. While a symbol cannot singlehandedly place the Indian rupee as a major player on the international financial scene, it certainly is indicative of the nation’s intentions to emerge as a world leader in the years to come.