In this paper, we present novel topological features based on the structural shape of a character. We detect the convexshaped segments formed by the various strokes. The convex segments are then represented with shape primitives from a repertoire. The character is represented as a spatial layout of convex segments. We formulate feature templates for Bangla characters. A given character is assigned the label of the best matching feature template. We have tested the method on a benchmark datasets of printed and handwritten Bangla basic and compound character images. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of our approach. Copyright © 2011 ACM.