Design nuances of the Rupee symbol

By 25 Apr 2018

Uday Kumar Dharmalingam is an assistant professor in the department of design, IIT Guwahati. He did his PhD in design from IDC, IIT Bombay, before doing his master’s in visual communication. His areas of interest include graphic design, typography, type design, architecture and design research with special focus on Tamil typography

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Designing the Rupee sign
I look for visual harmony while creating a design. It is primarily because I want unity among the various elements the design contains. It also depends on the nature of the design. It should look like one whole unit. 
 
While designing the Rupee symbol, the goal was to follow the design briefs. It was a competition and they had enlisted certain criteria, that the design should reflect Indian culture, traditions and so forth.
 
My first objective was to bring out the Indian-ness in the design. So I looked into the design brief and then added additional inputs to enhance my design.
 
India is a diverse country. I considered a lot of parameters and consciously eliminated the biases the design may represent. I tried portraying the national flag, as it appeals to all communities and religions. I also wanted to create an arithmetic sign which indicates India as a balanced and flourishing economy. 
 
After all considerations, I decided to incorporate only the horizontal lines in order to achieve the intended visual harmony.  
 
Evaluating the design
The process of evaluation was crucial. I envisioned the design in places on which it could be implemented. And I choose the design based on various printing techniques, sizes, proportions, colour, and background.
 
Whenever I design, I try to do a series of sketches and look at how it will look and appear in various contexts, surfaces, various techniques, and how it will be reproduced in various forms. Once I finalise the design, I check whether it looks good in all these aspects. Then I fine-tune it based on various applications.
 
Approach to design
The beauty of design is that everyone has a unique style or design approach to come up with a design solution. If you draw defined steps for designing, it kind of limits the process. My approach is to do a lot of research, study about it and understand the brief and finally come up with a context that can do justice to the brief. It keeps evolving.
 
Making a design timeless
There is no precise formula to make a design timeless. It depends on a lot of factors. Only time can tell if a design is timeless or not. Having said that, simplicity of a design can perhaps increase its longevity.
 

 
These interviews appeared on Audiogyan, an Indian podcast hosted by Kedar Nimkar. So far, the podcast has 64 posts and more than 65,000 listens. You can listen to the full version of the podcast at audiogyan.com

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