Currency symbols

daverowland's picture

I'm after people's thoughts on which currency symbols should be added to a text font (Latin extended A). It makes sense to add symbols for currencies used by countries which use this character set, but what about ₹, ฿, ₫ etc.? And it's plausible that end users might also need deprecated currency symbols like French Franc. There doesn't seem to be a standard set. Adobe Source Sans, for example, includes Vietnamese dong but not Thai Baht. It's a question of where to draw the line, so... where do you draw the line?

Karl Stange's picture

Perhaps the thinking with Adobe Source Sans was that currency symbols should fall in line with the language support for the font. With the exception of the Rupee sign this would seem to make sense for Source Sans and explain the exclusion of the Thai Baht sign for example.

It would also be worth considering in the context of the design of a given typeface. So, having the Thai Baht sign in a font which does not contain any Thai characters could be redundant, as it would not be matched to the look and feel of any particular Thai script.

daverowland's picture

I considered this, but the Baht symbol is not particularly Thai looking, just a B with a vertical bar through it (most currency symbols are distinctly Latin in appearance). There are many situations where a currency symbol would be needed, even outside that symbol's language - an English language guidebook to Thailand, for example. I know the chances of anyone needing the character are slim, but if somebody does need it, and they overlook my (or anyone's) font because it doesn't include it, then that's a sale lost for the sake of saving all of five minutes by not including the symbol. All very hypothetical, I know, but you have to try and cater for as many users as possible. I'd put a Baht symbol in a font over a Costa Rican Colon, or a Nigerian Naira, despite the writing system of the base alphabet, because I think it's more useful to my customers (I have sold a fair amount of fonts in Thailand, but as far as I recall, none in Nigeria!)

Karl Stange's picture

I have designed currency symbols for fonts that would only be used in the context of guidebooks and as such were designed to be mindful of other fonts being used in those books (and similar work with arrows, referencing your other thread). Without knowing the intended use it is difficult if not impossible to anticipate and if someone is planning to use your symbol with a different font other technical factors would be considerations, such as relative metrics and the overall look and feel.

I have no working knowledge of these considerations but based on recent discussions here regarding deviations from conventional text and display character designs in, for example, Cyrillic scripts, it might be worth doing some research into these conventions before including these signs. What seems to suit the design of a text face aimed at Latin usage might not match relative conventions in fonts designed exclusively for or targeted towards text settings for Thai.

From my limited experience as a type consumer I must say that the inclusion of additional character support is welcome but it is not always clear how useful those additional characters will be.

Karl Stange's picture

From a brief glance at the Wikipedia article regarding Thai numerals it looks like Thai uses a combination of written and Arabic numerals. I have no practical knowledge of currency being used in Thai script but this probably means that you would need to be mindful of both forms when designing the currency symbol.

daverowland's picture

The thing is, if someone wanted to use the Baht symbol with Thai numerals, they'd use a different font (which supported Thai). My market would be people writing in Latin alphabets, so the symbol would only have to 'work' in this context. I lived in Japan a year or two ago, and they have their own kanji form of Yen (円), but in Latin fonts, we use the standard ¥ symbol. I think this is the same kind of situation.

Karl Stange's picture

In which case, as long as you are not damaging your own commercial returns by procrastinating over whether or not to add support for (in general western usage) rarified character support, the more the merrier!

Bendy's picture

Thai newspapers moved from Thai to Arabic numerals in the early eighties, and publishers followed suit. These days Thai numerals are seen only commonly on currency.

I'd include the Baht, and the other ones, as they only take a minute or two to design. As a designer, the extra characters are a sign of a good quality font.

On a related note, the Numero sign (№) is quite useful to include too.

hrant's picture

As you say, the font doesn't need to include support for a given writing system for it to warrant including the currency symbol associated with that writing system (because you might want to do business there with the Latin script). On the other hand (and probably for reasons of automatic Latin support) every currency (except maybe sea-shells :-) does have a three-letter acronym:
http://en.easy-forex.com/int/currencyacronyms.aspx

I think you should include a currency symbol based on: how easy it is to make (which is why you might see a Baht more often than a Rupee); and/or the country's GDP (or a more refined economic measure like how much international business is conducted there).

On the other hand, there's money to be made by not including exotic characters and waiting for the right people to pay you extra to add them. :->

hhp

daverowland's picture

On the other hand, there's money to be made by not including exotic characters and waiting for the right people to pay you extra to add them. :->

Maybe we should all only make 'adhesion' and wait for someone to pay us to complete it :)

hrant's picture

http://www.mail.com/scitech/news/2011818-wild-unregulated-hacker-currenc...
Look at the third image. Instead of that dorky thing I'm envisioning a "B" where the bowls stay separate and cross over the stem; it could even be handwritten (at least with a direction-independent tool). But it's probably too late to save it...

hhp

hrant's picture

So, assuming it's not too late, which of these structures do people prefer?

Are any of those too much like the Thai baht symbol?

Any other possibilities? Maybe something with "B" and "C"?

hhp

hrant's picture

You mean the three-letter code? You don't use currency symbols in Canada? :-) Not even for hockey equipment? ;-)

hhp

ferfolio_2's picture

I think it's a very hard thing to define, and its constantly changing. Today we have about 120 currencies in total, not all of those are used...

In this link you have (to the left) a list of the top 50 most active currencies, and it's up to date:
http://www.likeforex.com/misc/top50.htm

And here, you can have a general idea on how do those currency signs look like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_sign

For my latest typeface, I've included the 10 most used currencies, and the necesary curency signs for Latin 1.

hrant's picture

Bumping my first post of April 15...

Nobody has preferences on this?
I'd like to start making the symbol for my fonts, and I would freely ignore the existing form for something better.

hhp

hrant's picture

I just saw this old article
http://www.underware.nl/blog/2010/10/lets-****-up-the-caribbean-guilder/
and was quite disappointed. I think it typifies the combination of arrogance and fatalism that so many designers suffer from, leading to a failure of basic common sense, which in turn necessarily leads to bad design.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

That article is so old it is now dead and buried.

hrant's picture

But does its spirit not live on? Many type designers seem to harbor a perplexing animosity towards adding currency symbols; some of them seem to feel the same way about ever adding -or even modifying- any symbol to any script. As if writing systems are fossils, and not living things.

BTW what did the Caribbean guilder symbol end up looking like?

Oh, and I just realized the Typophile "modesty filter" changed the f-word to four asterisks in that link.

hhp

peawormsworth's picture

All of the top 3 are my preference due to the speed in which they can be written by hand.
Also, they would probably be able to be displayed on existing LED displays used in calculators.
Those symbols are far superior then the existing bitcoin symbol which is inappropriate for hand written script.

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