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Author Topic: Support Bitcoin currency sign in Unicode  (Read 6871 times)
Pander
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July 19, 2011, 11:38:08 AM
 #21

As far as the copyright, the copyright of the logo's is enough. They want to make sure we are not trying to insert some symbol that is proprietary or has copyright or trademark by a party that does not allow use of it freely. Who can help me out with this by contacting the authors of the official logos?

The #-B is perfect as a compose key sequence for bitcoin sign like C= and =C are for euro sign €. Alternative compose key sequences can also be B# and #B. I will come back later to this at the end of this reply.

As I explained wareen, the symbol submitted to Unicode Consortium is only as a reference implementation to assign a character code. That particular glyph is in the style of their typeface (which you cannot use, except for reference in http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U20A0.pdf so it should be as generic/boring as possible). It is up to the font communities such as Latin Modern, FreeFont, DejaVu etc. to come up with their own implementations in the style of their typeface once a unicode has been assigned.

For example the euro has an official symbol, but not many fonts are using it because it doesn't fit the style of their typeface. Hence, designing a bitcoin symbol that all should use will also not work. Just have a simply and clear description of that it should look and leave it up to the typographers to make a version in the style of their typefaces.

In fonts it is possible to have two implementations of a currency sign, like the dollar with one or two bars. One is in the lining numeral range and one is in the non-lining or old style numeral range. This could also be used for the bitcoin signs to offer an alternative glyph. So you have the B| and the B#. As people have mentioned, B# is written as a 3 plus a hash and the B| as a B with longer vertical stroke and a (sometimes partly hidden) bar (like B for bitcoin and bar as in a writing dollar). For that reason I prefer the B| because in the the process of writing it associates more with bitcoin and currency.

For the Unicode Consortium, there has to be one reference character and not two. Of course each font can make their own version to match their style but this is unrelated to the reference for the unicode. Because we (here) communicate mainly digitally, the advantage of a written bitcoin sign is only now appearing with B# compared to B|. That is all fine an can be a possible implementation for a certain font but the community or the maintainers have to decide on the official glyph, but it has to merge to a definitive official character/glyph. The logos and artwork on the other hand all use B|. In short, in the proposal to the Unicode Consortium I have included a SVG version of http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/4500/bitcoinsign20110719.png which is in the style of the Unicode Consortium font and not an official version from the community, only a reference to the concept of the official bitcoin character. I used this one http://image-upload.de/image/SjC51K/f33980a445.png as the official version to create this serif reference character and aligned the bars to what is common with other reference currency signs in the Unicode code charts.

If the official bitcoin glyph has changed in general make up, not in details, please let me know and I will amend the proposal.
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wareen
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July 19, 2011, 12:16:16 PM
 #22

Thanks for the nice writeup about the Unicode internals.
Maybe you can clarify one point: the alternative versions of the glyph are totally up to the font designer, right? So we cannot really expect there to be actual implementations of these proposals:
https://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=41.msg358846#msg358846
unless we somehow convince the font designers themselves.

I think you are saying that those are just minor variants from your version so we should not bother taking them as a basis for our proposal - right?

Quote
If the official bitcoin glyph has changed in general make up, not in details, please let me know and I will amend the proposal.
That's a good question - who decides what is official in Bitcoin - obviously there have been alternative proposals and some seem to have quite strong opinions about them. On the other hand I think it is very likely to have a majority in favor for your version version as the official glyph.

Would you agree to make a simple Yes/No poll over that one? It would be the right thing to do IMHO, before we approach the Unicode consortium.

To eliminate any needless off-topic debate it should be stated clearly that there is the possibility for alternative font representations and that this is purely the boring for-reference version for the Unicode proposal.
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July 19, 2011, 01:33:30 PM
 #23

The implementations of the glyphs and optional alternative glyphs are completely up to the designers. Example for euro can be seen here where the first series contain text figures, non-lining numerals or old-style numerals and the second series contains lining numerals or titling figures.

http://www.kombinat-typefounders.com/images/catalog/articles/euro/liningOsFigures.gif

Note that most fonts only have one of the two versions and that is at the same time the default for that font. High quality fonts or fonts in which attentions has been paid to this aspect have both. Apart from the numerals also dollar, cent, euro and pound sterling can have two versions (sometimes also for the percent and ampersand glyph). The versions are mainly concerned to the normal or full height and positioning below the baseline or exactly on the baseline.

As seen in this example, some features can change. For the dollar, this is usually observed in one or two vertical bars. For Bitcoin you can choose what to change if there is an absolute need for it that has been observed in its usage. Otherwise it is best to keep only on version and only change the two aspects as height and positioning on or below baseline. So yes, only minor variants!

As for which is the official bitcoin character from which I make the an reference character for Unicode Consortium, please let me know which one it is. I will not be a part of figuring that out and will use whatever the community comes up with. I think a poll is not a good idea since most community members do not have enough experience and proper frame of reference on design and typography relating currencies.

Best is to have the community to appoint three of five people that will look into all suggestions, pros and cons and decide what it is going to be. That will be the version we will stick by. Note that this has to be well designed and chosen (both for digital use and handwriting). It would be a success for Bitcoin of course to get a Unicode assigned.

So let it be one of high quality. If you have a committee of three or something we can also as some open source typographers to have a look at the current proposals and perhaps they have some good feedback or improvements.
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July 19, 2011, 03:02:45 PM
 #24

Hi all, if you agree, please merge all serious proposals and requirement for Bitcoin sign here: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_symbol#New_Unicode_symbol in order to have a clear and high quality overview in stead of them being distributed over many long posts. Of course the posts remain useful in discussing proposed Bitcoin signs.
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July 24, 2011, 09:52:58 PM
 #25

The reality is that Unicode already has the de-facto BTC symbol B⃦ and that both new "proposals" are simply more or less font-specific variations of that. No action needs to be taken, and probably Unicode will not take it, because the glyph is already part of Unicode. All that needs to be done, is for people to optimize fonts for displaying it nicer.

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July 25, 2011, 04:22:57 AM
 #26

The reality is that Unicode already has the de-facto BTC symbol B⃦ and that both new "proposals" are simply more or less font-specific variations of that. No action needs to be taken, and probably Unicode will not take it, because the glyph is already part of Unicode. All that needs to be done, is for people to optimize fonts for displaying it nicer.

Ahh, begging the question.  How rarely do I get to use that phrase correctly.

42 + 20E6 is not de-facto anything.  This thread, and the many clones of it, are prima facie evidence of non-de-facto-ness.  It is something that a few people have used, one option out of many with no clear majority that I've seen.  Having a single glyph, rather than an overlay, would be very handy.  Also, the proposals so far are both wildly different from the overlay combination.

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