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edgeworth (OP)
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July 01, 2011, 04:37:02 PM
Last edit: July 04, 2011, 10:13:00 PM by edgeworth
 #1

I'd put this in one of the threads discussing the design of the bitcoin symbol but as I am limited to this forum I'll post it here. I was thinking and reading a lot about the design of the bitcoin symbol and came up with a proposed solution. Have a read and see what you think:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/48235/BITCOINSYMBOLADJUSTMENTPROPOSAL.pdf



Downloads:
EPS: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/48235/BITCOINSYMBOLVECTORS.eps
SVG: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/48235/BITCOINSYMBOLVECTORS.svg
PNG: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/48235/BITCOINSYMBOLPNGS.png



If you don't want to read the PDF, here's the tl;dr:

Problems with the currently used bitcoin symbols include: One is the Thai baht and the other is a B with two extra vertical slashes (for a total of 3) which can look cramped if written manually and interpreted in other typefaces. It also takes time to write.

Problems with designing any new symbol: Can't look remarkably different to the ones being used now.

My proposed solution: Combine the # sign with a B to give the symbol meaning and simplicity.
"The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime." -- Satoshi
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July 01, 2011, 05:03:21 PM
 #2

I like your idea of having a unique symbol for bitcoin, and the double slashed B is as good an idea as any. The real trouble, of course, is in getting in incorporated into symbol sets so that it can be as easily used as the dollar or the euro.
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July 01, 2011, 05:06:57 PM
 #3

I like it Smiley

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July 01, 2011, 05:30:10 PM
Last edit: July 01, 2011, 06:38:17 PM by TiagoTiago
 #4

There has already been several threads discussing adopting an official symbol and making it typeable, including a big one that even spawned an article in the Bitcoin wiki

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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July 01, 2011, 06:33:56 PM
 #5

+1
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July 01, 2011, 07:47:42 PM
 #6

I think this, and the plethora of earlier discussions like it, is as fascinating as wanking off, and just as entertaining. But like always, premature, and in the end not as intellectually, emotionally, or physically satisfying as the real thing. But to save time and expedite climax:

Don't use the Thai Baht symbol.

Don't use extant symbols that have meaning in specific contexts, cultures, languages.

Don't base it on double slashes, just like the major fiat currencies we are turning our backs toward - both dollars and euros have double slashes through a character S or E respectively. Why double slashes through a B?

Why do we need a symbol anyway? Is anyone writing digital values down on paper? Is a decentralized currency going to incant symbols by committee?

Don't you expect, hope, or prepare for SI units such as mega, kilo, milli, micro, nano, pico? Wouldn't ASCII characters be most convenient in the digital age? That is what we're after, isn't it?

As you can see, I like to masturbate too. Smiley https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_symbol

EDIT: OK, nice PDF, I like the presentation. I disagree with the slash-premise, but applaud your initiative!

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edgeworth (OP)
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July 01, 2011, 08:25:37 PM
 #7

Any bitcoin symbol is more than just a symbol, it's a logo. Just like people have 'paypal or visa accepted here' banners on their websites that are easily identifiable, bitcoin needs a symbol that identifies itself.  

Like it or loath it, backed by popular usage, a 'B' with either one or two slashes has become symbol and logo for bitcoin. Other good suggestions were made, but nothing else took off. There are some problems though with using a B with one slash as the bitcoin symbol because it is already used by the Thai baht. The problem with using a B with two slashes is that the symbol becomes cramped, time consuming to write and will be difficult to create in some typefaces.

My proposed solution to the problem is to keep the B with two slashes, yet specify that one of these slashes is also the definite vertical baseline of the character. The symbol has a total of two vertical lines, not three like the most common symbol being used and not one like the Thai baht. It's a small adjustment, but one I think makes sense. I also explain in the pdf that the symbol carries some added meaning as it was created by combining '#', a character often associated with code along with the character B.

Needless to say, I disagree that discussing the symbol for bitcoin is akin to wanking off.

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July 01, 2011, 09:08:39 PM
 #8

Any bitcoin symbol is more than just a symbol, it's a logo. Just like people have 'paypal or visa accepted here' banners on their websites that are easily identifiable, bitcoin needs a symbol that identifies itself.  

That is a good point and I agree. I strongly discourage the Baht symbol. It just present ignorance or apathy and Thailand is a country where bitcoin could really take off.


Like it or loath it, backed by popular usage, a 'B' with either one or two slashes has become symbol and logo for bitcoin.

That may be true. I do loath it. I don't know if you like it (certainly you've invested time in it), but why follow the herd? You're clearly talented. TiagoTiago proposed a brilliant idea. Maybe if you grok its innovation, you can give it some of your typographic expertise.

https://en.bitcoin.it/w/images/en/a/ad/Bat.png


My proposed solution to the problem is to keep the B with two slashes, yet specify that one of these slashes is also the definite vertical baseline of the character

Is that your proposal? I don't recall seeing the double slash any other way. I present http://bitcoin.org/


added meaning as it was created by combining '#', a character often associated with code along with the character B.

That was not immediately apparent to me, but I do like the idea of a hash symbol, which has very significant meaning to bitcoin value/stability/security. Perhaps if you are committed to the double slashed B that you emphasize the hash symbolism.


Needless to say, I disagree that discussing the symbol for bitcoin is akin to wanking off.

Please excuse me. It is only that anything discussed frequently with intensity that results in little change tends to remind me of wanking off. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong.

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July 01, 2011, 09:24:32 PM
 #9

Are you searching for the big thread to read it or do you need one of us to do it for you?

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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July 01, 2011, 09:28:19 PM
 #10

double slashed b sounds too much like /b/

 Wink
edgeworth (OP)
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July 01, 2011, 10:05:07 PM
 #11

Quote from: netrin
That is a good point and I agree. I strongly discourage the Baht symbol. It just present ignorance or apathy and Thailand is a country where bitcoin could really take off.
I completely agree with you here. Commandeering the baht symol is lazy and as bitcoin desires to be used globally, I think being able to differentiate it from the baht is important. I'm not totally against using the baht symbol in place of a bitcoin symbol unofficially until unicode accepts a dedicated bitcoin symbol and this is becoming common, but I would prefer if people for now only delineated bitcoins using the currency code ( ISO 4217)  'BTC'. From the list of proposed unicode characters I also don't mind 'there does not exist' and one other I found 'does not contain as member' but I do think bitcoin needs its own symbol.

Quote from: netrin
That may be true. I do loath it. I don't know if you like it (certainly you've invested time in it), but why follow the herd? You're clearly talented. TiagoTiago proposed a brilliant idea. Maybe if you grok its innovation, you can give it some of your typographic expertise..
I don't hate it. It is the most obvious choice and popular consensus seems to have dictated that something resembling a 'B' with currency slashes be the symbol. I do like some of the other proposals but none of them gained traction. If I created or worked on one of the other symbols, I doubt it would gain any traction either. I also like my solution to the problems the current symbols have.

Quote from: netrin
Is that your proposal? I don't recall seeing the double slash any other way. I present http://bitcoin.org/
If you look closely at that symbol, you will notice that the character B, having one vertical stroke already, gets introduced to two more vertical slashes. While this work visually, using the typeface used as two of three vertical lines in the character share half a space, but if you attempt to write this symbol with a pen manually, you will notice that the space is cramped and it takes time to write, two slashes will become one slash, and soon everyone is writing it as the baht. Other typefaces will run into difficulty trying to interpret it and displaying it on a small scale. With my slight adjustment, and specs, it is clear that only two vertical strokes are to be used like the baht but it still has its own independant identity.


Quote from: netrin
That was not immediately apparent to me, but I do like the idea of a hash symbol, which has very significant meaning to bitcoin value/stability/security. Perhaps if you are committed to the double slashed B that you emphasize the hash symbolism.

I don't think it needs to emphasized any more than it is already apparent. It acts as a good story as to why character looks the way it does and what idea it grew from. A lot of people don't notice the arrow in the Fedex logo as obvious as it is. My vertical lines are set at a diagonal like most # signs but I'm not against them being styled as true verticals as some typefaces might dictate that they need to be.

Quote from: netrin
Please excuse me. It is only that anything discussed frequently with intensity that results in little change tends to remind me of wanking off. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong.
Ha ha!
edgeworth (OP)
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July 01, 2011, 10:07:06 PM
 #12

Are you searching for the big thread to read it or do you need one of us to do it for you?

I've read all the threads and documents about the symbol. I can't post anywhere but this forum for the time being on account of my newfishness.
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July 02, 2011, 02:02:41 AM
 #13

I don't hate it. It is the most obvious choice and popular consensus seems to have dictated that something resembling a 'B' with currency slashes be the symbol.

Are we discussing an abstract symbol (glyph) or logo? If it is decided (against my lone protests) the abstract symbol is a B with two slashes, then I think your logo is lovely. It has clean lines, no cramping, I agree you accomplished your goals. But are you also suggesting a modification to the abstraction? That other logos imply three vertical lines whereas you propose only two (something like a 3 with || rather than a B with ||). These seems a question of penmanship or font rather than glyph. Am I mistaken (I'm willing to bow to your typographic superiority on this one)?

I don't think it needs to emphasized any more than it is already apparent. It acts as a good story as to why character looks the way it does and what idea it grew from. A lot of people don't notice the arrow in the Fedex logo as obvious as it is. My vertical lines are set at a diagonal like most # signs but I'm not against them being styled as true verticals as some typefaces might dictate that they need to be.

I am not much concerned with the logo. I appreciate the need for a logo and am happy to see consensus come up with one without me. If B with slashes is final, then your logo is as fine as any I've seen. But in common writing we will use ASCII. I don't expect a Unicode addition in this decade, nor do I think using an arcane greek, diacritic, or any other clever appropriation from the basic multilingual plane will help bitcoin's adoption. When it becomes as common as gold, I hope the glyph question will have already been answered by a billion humans. In the meantime, I think it will be more important to handle SI prefixes: millebtc, microbtc, nanobtc, and hopefully picobtc. I don't expect pico฿ gaining much traction, ever.

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July 02, 2011, 11:34:02 AM
 #14

Well done pdf, I wish this was out during the creating of the B, but it is already there, I think hard to change at this point as you pointed out.  Even with the changes so minimal and making it better to use, it's just too late.

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July 02, 2011, 07:16:34 PM
 #15

I like your work!

Someone mentioned that he'd rather not associate Bitcoin with regular (fiat) currencies through the use of double slashes. I on the other don't think this is a problem: When you see a B with two slashes and haven't seen it before, it already looks like a currency symbol. Which it is. Just through it's appearance.
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July 02, 2011, 08:30:09 PM
 #16

I only don't one thing about it.

While looking at it, one the upper left side, you see  light.

This is to give the appearance that light is shining on it from the upper left (my guess). This I don't like (probably only me).

I support this design (even if this is never changed).

Can I use it freely myself?
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July 02, 2011, 08:33:50 PM
 #17

Can I use it freely myself?

Good question, I was wondering if this was royalty free as well.

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July 03, 2011, 03:58:37 PM
 #18

It would be royalty free if people want to use it of course. Let me get back to my main work station and I will upload some different image formats including the original vectors so people can easily play around with the gradients themselves and have the coin shine whichever way they prefer. I'll do some myself too and answer the other questions later. What I was really just interested to hear for now was what people thought of the design.
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July 04, 2011, 07:29:25 PM
 #19

added downloads to vector formats and PNG in top post. Will add some more soon.
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July 04, 2011, 08:20:39 PM
 #20

From the list of proposed unicode characters I also don't mind 'there does not exist' and one other I found 'does not contain as member' ...

That must be the worst idea ever.
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July 04, 2011, 09:18:55 PM
 #21

I like the concept of having a proper Trademark (legally speaking : serving to identify the source of goods/service, with secondary meaning, widely interpreted/known by the public as one precise good/service)
Yet I disagree on copying the design of a regular gold-ish coin. If we create a new currency, why keep the old meaning of a coin (especially a virtual one). I feel the same way when a new website/service appears with old symbol for mail (the simple letter) or search (the looking glass). Let's do something new !
As for the Baht debate, is the national Thaïland currency symbol different (simple straight vertical line in middle of the B, cf Wikipedia) ?
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July 04, 2011, 09:40:06 PM
 #22

It would be royalty free if people want to use it of course.

added downloads to vector formats and PNG in top post. Will add some more soon.

Thanks. You are the man!!!
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July 04, 2011, 10:00:45 PM
 #23

Thanks. You are the man!!!

No worries, let me know if you use it anywhere so I can check it out in the wild!

I like the concept of having a proper Trademark (legally speaking : serving to identify the source of goods/service, with secondary meaning, widely interpreted/known by the public as one precise good/service)
Yet I disagree on copying the design of a regular gold-ish coin. If we create a new currency, why keep the old meaning of a coin (especially a virtual one). I feel the same way when a new website/service appears with old symbol for mail (the simple letter) or search (the looking glass). Let's do something new !
As for the Baht debate, is the national Thaïland currency symbol different (simple straight vertical line in middle of the B, cf Wikipedia) ?

You can implement the symbol anyway you like. If you have any ideas, let me know.

edgeworth (OP)
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July 05, 2011, 01:22:03 AM
 #24


Are we discussing an abstract symbol (glyph) or logo? If it is decided (against my lone protests) the abstract symbol is a B with two slashes, then I think your logo is lovely. It has clean lines, no cramping, I agree you accomplished your goals. But are you also suggesting a modification to the abstraction? That other logos imply three vertical lines whereas you propose only two (something like a 3 with || rather than a B with ||). These seems a question of penmanship or font rather than glyph. Am I mistaken (I'm willing to bow to your typographic superiority on this one)?


I am talking about both really as one follows the other but more-so the abstract symbol and its specifications: That the symbol for bitcoin should be interpreted as being a # sign combined with a B, so that the symbol only has two vertical lines, something exactly like you say 'a 3 with || rather than a B with ||'. Indeed the bitcoin symbol we most often see could call itself a stylised version of my exact proposal but I feel it gives the impression that it is more a 'B' with two added vertical lines for a total of three vertical lines.

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July 05, 2011, 03:54:31 AM
 #25

emphasize the # ?

http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/3629/hashbtc.jpg

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July 05, 2011, 02:30:33 PM
 #26

Is that a B shape with two slashes intersecting the top arc only? It looks well.
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July 05, 2011, 02:49:34 PM
 #27

What's the point, if you can't type it?! A bit premature really I think. Wait till bitcoin becomes mainstream, till then BTC is fine.
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July 05, 2011, 03:59:21 PM
 #28

Is that a B shape with two slashes intersecting the top arc only? It looks well.

Precisely. It's to emphasis the hash-backed nature of the currency.

It don't have the tools to 'normalize' this, but an italic #3 where the top two horizontals of the 3 intersect with the horizontals of the #.

What's the point, if you can't type it?! A bit premature really I think. Wait till bitcoin becomes mainstream, till then BTC is fine.

I agree completely as for a currency glyph. But a logo is important, considering any currency is perception, perception, perception.

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July 05, 2011, 05:02:45 PM
 #29

Another point is that for unicode to accept a new character, it has to be shown that it is in wide use.
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July 07, 2011, 06:32:36 AM
 #30

How about a circle, representing the coin? Example >
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July 07, 2011, 07:09:41 AM
 #31

Yet I disagree on copying the design of a regular gold-ish coin. If we create a new currency, why keep the old meaning of a coin (especially a virtual one). I feel the same way when a new website/service appears with old symbol for mail (the simple letter) or search (the looking glass). Let's do something new !
Exactly. The gold coin rendered logo looks a bit awkward with the new symbol because the stroke width is uniform and the design is simple, makes it look more like an arcade token than the serifed letters made to last the wear and tear of daily use as a currency. Not the kind of thing to inspire confidence in a currency when it looks like a disposable token. We need to subtly and symbolically communicate how the collective computing power of a P2P network can supersede the scarcity of precious metals. This new symbol looks good, just not on a metallic coin.
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July 07, 2011, 07:27:55 AM
 #32

Another direction I want to suggest, the 1 and o represents a bit and a coin:
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July 12, 2011, 08:54:21 PM
 #33

I assume that people have gone through the entire unicode table Smiley?

I did a quick scan, but none are that great and the b circle one was already picked out.








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July 12, 2011, 09:24:55 PM
 #34

I'm still ok with the Thai Baht symbol. It's not like the dollar sign is uniquely used. (Canadian, Australian, Brazilian Real, ...) but those currencies have a historical tie, unlike bitcoin and Baht.

Also an existing Unicode char would be easier. Just my 0.5 BTC.

Imo bitcoin is about freedom and no restrictions, no need to force those rules on it. Let it grow and eventually one symbol will stand out and live on.

Meanwhile enjoy the creative results that flow out of this initiative.

Not my best English, but iPad and autocorrect... Sheesh!
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July 13, 2011, 01:36:38 AM
 #35

I'm still ok with the Thai Baht symbol. It's not like the dollar sign is uniquely used. (Canadian, Australian, Brazilian Real, ...) but those currencies have a historical tie, unlike bitcoin and Baht.

I am not a fan of using the Thai Baht, but don't care much. None the less here's my contribution (not Unicode) which emphasises bitcoin's cryptographic hash (#) backed nature.



But it turns out the Baht was a unit of weight that was originally base 2 - binary!

bia    เบี้ย    1⁄6400 Baht    cowrie; a very small amount of money; a counter used in gambling
solot    โสฬส or โสฬศ    1⁄128 Baht
att or ath    อัฐ    1⁄64 Baht    
sio or py    เสี้ยว เซี่ยว or ไพ    1⁄32 Baht    a quarter (feuang)
sik    ซีก or สิ้ก    1⁄16 Baht    a section; a half (feuang)
feuang    เฟื้อง    ⅛ Baht    
salung    สลึง    ¼ Baht    a quarter (baht)
mayon    มายน or มะยง    ½ Baht    
baht    บาท    1 Baht    1 tical, from Portuguese, from Malay tikal [3]
tamleung (of silver)    ตำลึง (หน่วยเงิน)    4 baht    a gourd; weight of silver equal to four baht, or ~60 grams

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_baht#History

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July 13, 2011, 01:40:19 AM
 #36

Nah I like the B with /
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July 13, 2011, 03:49:04 AM
 #37

I think that having a recognisable symbol is important, but I wonder whether basing it on the "B" is too anglophone-specific. A global currency should be recognisable in any language.
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July 13, 2011, 04:20:15 AM
Last edit: July 13, 2011, 04:31:48 AM by deepceleron
 #38

I think that having a recognisable symbol is important, but I wonder whether basing it on the "B" is too anglophone-specific. A global currency should be recognisable in any language.

And a currency based on a letter "S" can't be recognizable? What about $?

The dollar symbol can be written as an S with a complete strike through, or a partial strike-through (with just ticks on the top and the bottom). Likewise it can have a single or a double strike. All are representative of dollars. This shows that a currency does not need one absolute glyph. The strikethrough of the ASCII $ even changes between these four representations by just changing the font face.

The same dollar sign is used for currencies of many countries, not just the US. Besides dollars issued by other countries, pesos also use the $ glyph. Bitcoins and Baht sharing the same ฿ symbol is fine, as we see by example that varied world currencies already share the same symbol.

A double-strikethrough is very common in currency symbols, making the glyph easily recognizable as representative of money (₳  ₡  €  ₱  ₩ ¥ etc). Therefore it would be ideal to migrate to a B of Bitcoin having double-ticks on the top and bottom to make the symbol more universally identifiable as currency but without being illegible from two complete strikethroughs. Barring this symbol being added to Unicode though, the ฿ shall do when represented in typography instead of logo form, and it can be handwritten with one slash instead of four.
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