Interesting Proposal For a New Kenya Shilling Symbol To Replace The Current KSh and KES

July 16, 2013

So we happened to bump into this interesting project by Ark Africa, a branding and advertising agency based in Nairobi. 
As Kenya turns celebrates 50 years of independence, the minds at ARK believe we should do something different, like get a new symbol for our Kenya Shilling.
Currently, we use KSh and KES.

Though the proposal is brilliant, there are some fundamental challenges in implementing it, like how to input it into the computer, considering no such command exist now. It would probably take years for future computers to incorporate it.

Below is the entire article lifted from their website. You be the judge.

Kenya Shilling Symbol

This year, as Kenya turns 50, we’ll be looking at ways of improving our nation’s image through design. We hope our experiments can contribute to the discussion on how elements of design can impress upon the Kenyan identity substantively.


We can’t seem to make up our minds!

The Kenya Shilling, “Bob” to his friends, was born in 1966 and is the most traded currency in the East African region. Kenya is the financial hub of East Africa and the mobile money capital of the world – so Bob gets involved in transactions quite a lot. Despite other regional countries having their own currencies, the Kenya Shilling is acceptable as legal tender in parts of neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Somalia.

At the moment, the abbreviations KES and KShs are utilised in lieu of a symbol for the Kenyan Shilling. In order to gain its rightful place at the table of the most influential currencies in the world and help advance Kenya’s soft power agenda, Bob – an important component in regional commerce – needs his own symbol.
We took it upon ourselves at ARK to come up with one.


Design thinking

Some currency symbols that use the “equaliser” stylistically

In our design proposal for the new Kenya Shilling symbol, we took the uppercase letter ‘K’ representing Kenya, combined it with two parallel lines to represent the “=” symbol. Arithmetically, the equality sign is a function that shows balanced relationships between items of the same value – a relationship that forms the basis of money as a medium of exchange. This equivalence “certifies” the stability of the Shilling.

This congruent symbol has been used stylistically before in currency symbols such as the Turkey Lira, the Costa Rica Colon and the Mongolia Tughrik, where it is employed diagonally, or more obviously for the Dollar where it is used vertically. Our symbol also has to be adequately distinguishable from the Laos Kip on the right above, the only other currency symbol currently based on the letter K.

The secret formula.

We then incorporated the equality sign to work with the letter K. Visually, the design brings geometric balance and aesthetic flow to the symbol.

The Kenya Shilling Symbol.

More importantly, it also lends itself well to easy writing by hand.
The result – a new Kenyan Shilling symbol that comfortably fits into the family of world currency symbols, and clearly stands its ground.


Bob’s your uncle!

In design terms we feel that it is a tidy solution that borrows from the proper and principled characteristics of Kenyan design heritage.

To enable some of the applications shown here to be realised, this symbol would have to be adopted by the governing body, the Central Bank of Kenya, after which we’d only have to get it inducted into the Unicode Consortium… and Bob’s your uncle!


We are looking forward to proudly embracing our shilling and affording it pride of place amongst the great currencies of the world. Lets make this a reality and #adoptbob

At these prices, Lunch is on me!
Your favourite magazine

Bargain denim


Unicode Adoption means getting the sign on keyboards

Source: Ark Africa
Follow @nairobiwire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss