March 31, 2023

Udaya Kumar: The Designer of India’s Rupee Symbol

Udaya Kumar: The Creative Mind Behind India’s Distinctive Rupee Symbol

In 2010, the Government of India unveiled a new symbol for the Indian rupee, marking the first time the currency had a distinctive and recognisable symbol of its own. The symbol – an amalgamation of Devanagari “Ra” and Roman “R” – was designed by an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay graduate, Udaya Kumar. In this article, we will explore the life and achievements of Udaya Kumar, the man behind the design of India’s Rupee Symbol.

Early Life and Education

Udaya Kumar was born on 10th October 1978 in Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu. His father, Paramasivam, was a teacher and his mother, Shanmugavadivu, was a homemaker. Udaya Kumar developed a keen interest in art and design during his school days and continued to pursue his passion in college.

Kumar completed his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in 2001. He then went on to pursue his Masters in Design from the Industrial Design Centre at IIT Bombay, where he specialised in typography and calligraphy.

Designing the Rupee Symbol

In 2009, the Indian government announced a competition to design a symbol for the Indian rupee. The competition attracted over 3000 entries from across the country, but it was Udaya Kumar’s design that won the contest. Kumar’s design was chosen for its simplicity, elegance, and ability to represent India’s rich cultural heritage.

The rupee symbol was designed using the combination of the Devanagari letter “Ra” and the Roman letter “R”. Kumar explained that the two letters were merged to create a “striking and harmonious” symbol that would be easy to read and write. The symbol has since become an integral part of the Indian currency, appearing on banknotes, coins, and other official documents.

Career and Achievements

After completing his Masters, Udaya Kumar joined the Industrial Design Centre at IIT Bombay as a faculty member. He has also worked as a visiting faculty member at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad and at various other design institutes in India.

In addition to designing the rupee symbol, Udaya Kumar has also designed several other logos, fonts, and typefaces. He has worked on projects for various companies and organisations, including the Indian Railways, Hindustan Petroleum, and Mahindra & Mahindra.

Kumar has received several awards and honours for his work, including the Young Achiever Award from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Alumni Association in 2010 and the National Award for Excellence in Design from the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, in 2012.


Udaya Kumar is a talented and accomplished designer who has made a significant contribution to Indian design. His iconic design of the Indian rupee symbol has become an important symbol of the country’s cultural and economic identity. Kumar’s work serves as an inspiration to aspiring designers and artists across India and beyond, demonstrating the power of design to convey meaning and tell stories.

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