A currency symbol is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency's name, especially in reference to amounts of money.
Although many former currency symbols were rendered obsolete by the adoption of the euro, having a new and unique currency symbol – implementation of which requires the adoption of new Unicode and type formats – has now become a status symbol for international currencies. The European Commission considers the global recognition of the euro sign € part of its success. In 2009, India launched a public competition to replace the ₨ ligature it shared with neighbouring countries. It finalised its new currency symbol, ₹ (₹) on 15 July 2010. It is a blend of the Latin letter 'R' with the Devanagari letter 'र' (ra).
When writing currency amounts the location of the symbol varies by currency. Many currencies in the English-speaking world and Latin America, place it before the amount (e.g., R$50,00). The Cape Verdean escudo places its symbol in the decimal separator position (i.e., 20$00). The usage of many European countries, such as France, Germany, Scandinavian countries, is to place the symbol after the amount 20,50 €.
The decimal separator also follows local countries' standards. For instance, the United Kingdom often uses an interpunct as the decimal point on price stickers (e.g., £5·52), although not in print. Commas (e.g. €5,00) or decimal points (e.g. $50.00) are common separators used in other countries. See decimal separator for information on international standards.
Older currency symbols have evolved slowly, often from previous currencies. The dollar and peso symbols originated from the mark employed to denote the Spanish real de a ocho, whereas the pound and lira symbols evolved from an L standing for libra, a Roman pound of silver. Newly invented currencies and currencies adopting new symbols have symbolism closer to their adopter. The added center bar in the real sign is meant to symbolize stability. The new Indian rupee symbol, ₹, is a stylised combination of Latin and Devanagari letters.
There are also other considerations, such as the perception of the business community and how the symbol is rendered on computers. For a new symbol to be used, software to render it needs to be promulgated and keyboards need to be altered or shortcuts added to type the icon. The EU was criticized for not considering how the euro symbol would need to be customized to work in different fonts. The original design was also exceptionally wide. These two factors have led to most typefaces employing customized, font-specific versions, usually with reduced width.