Four Adobe type families adopt Indian rupee symbol

Rupee glyphs from various type styles

Rupee glyphs from various type styles

How often do you write out the words “dollars,” “pounds sterling,” or “euros”? I’d wager that you seldom do as the symbols $, £, €, and ¢ are so easily to write and to access via computer and mobile keyboards. We may take these currency signs for granted, however not every major currency has its own mark. In particular, the Indian rupee has not had its own symbol until the past year. In early 2009, the Indian government announced a competition calling for the development of a character that would symbolize its national currency, the rupee, at home and in international markets. The final design, a symbol created by Udaya Kumar, was chosen and was ratified July 15, 20101. In a rare case of good timing and swift action, the rupee symbol was encoded in the latest revision of the Unicode standard, version 6.0, which went into effect October 11, 20102.

Indian rupee symbol from Minion Pro Regular

Indian rupee symbol from Minion Pro Regular

Despite having been made official less than a year ago, it seems that the Indian rupee symbol is quickly gaining widespread use within India. This has resulted in several of Adobe’s major international customers requesting font support for this character. In order to accommodate these requests, the type team at Adobe has added the rupee symbol to the following typeface families: Minion Pro3, Myriad Pro4, Courier Std5, and Letter Gothic Std6.

Indian rupee symbol from Letter Gothic Std Slanted

Indian rupee symbol from Letter Gothic Std Slanted

In designing the rupee character, several issues have to be taken into account. As a symbol meant to be used internationally, the rupee character should be designed in a way so as to harmonize with other monetary signs. For me, this meant that I had to fight the temptation of viewing the headline as analogous to the headline present in Indian scripts such as Devanagari, Bengali, and Gurmukhi. Instead, I was guided by our principal designer, Robert Slimbach, to consider the double horizontal bars of the rupee as similar to horizontal bars present in other currency symbols such as the euro, yen, &c.

Indian rupee symbol from Courier Std Bold

Indian rupee symbol from Courier Std Bold

Likewise, I had to resist the urge of trying to open up the top portion of the character to more evenly distribute the white space. This had the effect of reducing the salient features of this design that make it readily distinguishable from other symbols.

Indian rupee symbol from Myriad Pro Black Italic

Indian rupee symbol from Myriad Pro Black Italic

For fonts that support writing systems of India, the Indian rupee symbol often be required to work well with at least two sets of figures. Firstly, the rupee sign should harmonize with figures typically associated with Latin script, let’s call these international figures. Secondly, a well-designed rupee should not appear out of place when used with the native figures of the local writing system. The sample below is from the forthcoming Adobe Devanagari typeface.

Indian rupee with international figures and with Devanagari figures

Indian rupee with international figures and with Devanagari figures

The updated versions of Adobe fonts that include glyphs for the Indian rupee are not immediately available. However, it is expected that these fonts will be included in future releases of some of our software titles and will eventually be available for purchase from our web store.

1 Press Trust of India, ‘Indian rupee gets a symbol, joins elite currency club’, The Times of India, [website] (updated Jul 15, 2010). <http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-07-15/india-business/28319259_1_d-udaya-kumar-indian-currency-currency-symbol>

2 The Unicode Consortium, ‘History of Unicode Release and Publication Dates’, [website] (updated October 14, 2010). <http://unicode.org/history/publicationdates.html>

3 From version 2.103.

4 From version 2.097.

5 From version 2.062.

6 From version 2.052.

9 Responses

  1. Giorgio Bellante says:

    When will Adobe adopt the uppercase sharp s (ẞ, U+1E9E)?

    1. Paul D. Hunt says:

      Giorgio, our Hypatia Sans Pro family already includes this character.

    2. Giorgio Bellante says:

      Thanks, I didn’t know Hypatia Sans Pro includes versal eszett. But what about other serif typefaces like Minion Pro, Arno Pro and Warnock Pro?

    3. I checked the latest versions of those three families, and none of them include a glyph for U+1E9E yet. And, I should point out that the version of Hypatia Sans Pro that you are using may not include a glyph for this character, but the latest version does, as Paul pointed out.

    4. Andrew says:

      While we’re on the topic, I’d also love to have real angle brackets in Minion Pro, that is ⟨​ and ⟩ (U+27E8 and U+27E9).

    5. David Lemon says:

      Andrew,
      Because U+27E8 and U+27E9 are math symbols, we’re guessing you may really be wanting U+2329 and U+232A. But I’m curious why you’d love to have them. What would you be using them for?
      BTW, if you actually want math characters, Johannes Kuester has developed a pretty rich set of math extensions to Minion, available at http://www.typoma.com/en/fonts.html.

    6. Tom says:

      For example, in academic literature. Authors who are studying rare old text are used to use angle brackets for insertions and square brackets for omissions. Wide range of characters in Minion is very useful for setting of such publications, but it would be even more useful with angular brackets included.

  2. rl says:

    Gentlemen, I know you’re operating at a particular corner of the notional building of Adobe, but somehow the message needs to be passed to those who are in responsibility for Adobe’s face and future.

    Font corrections and updates can’t be any different from any other form of software, in that of course customers will want to receive them.

    At the very least, if we purchased from Adobe, we ought to be able to download any font purchased, whether directly or as part of a package like Design Premium or any of its components which receive fonts. It’s what computers are for, to keep track of this sort of thing and make the company look good in doing it.

    In this case, you’ll want to include prior purchases, as fonts often differ with upgrades, so that we have Arno from CS3, and Text as a registration reward on CS5, just as examples.

    It’s been discussed, and people in the font group have of course wanted to do it. Isn’t it the time, now?

    Regards,
    RL

    1. David Lemon says:

      As the poster indicated, we’re well aware of this need. Adobe is in a rather different position than most foundries, as most of the copies of our fonts are licensed as part of application software bundles or from our reseller partners. And virtually nobody actually registers their fonts. So we have no clue who the vast majority of our legitimate users are.

      Nobody else at Adobe is going to solve this for us; we have to craft our own solutions. There are two potential kinds of approaches to the font-update conundrum: technical and business-model.

      We have sketched out an architecture for a technical solution, and an engineer is working on the code. It’s too early to say when (or whether) this will ship, but I’m encouraged that something’s underway there.

      We’re also hard at work on some business-model innovations that may help resolve this sort of thing. Of course these also require technology, but that’s also in process. Again, it’s too soon to say what will happen when, but I do find the progress encouraging.

      For what it’s worth…
      – David L

Comments are closed.

Paul D. Hunt

Typeface designer & font developer at Adobe. Connoisseur of language, culture and design. Occasional jetsetter. Notorious recluse. @pauldhunt on twitter (and most everywhere else).

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