An article on a blog about design took a look this week at banknotes. Here are a few of their top picks.
But back to today's theme; banknotes. If there’s any category of design that’s strangled by convention, it’s banknotes. And with good reason too. If you’re trying to persuade someone to hand over tangible objects of value (gold and silver, for instance) in return for a piece of paper (as was the case when banknotes were first used), that piece of paper really needs to look the business. Trust, authority and gravitas are all paramount. But now that we’re happy to pay for goods with a few taps on a phone screen, do we really need all the frills and calligraphy and portraits of ponderous old men? Here’s a few examples of currencies that go against the grain.
Aruba’s banknotes all feature island wildlife - including frogs, turtles, snakes and owls and – hurrah! – not a single venerable colonial gent or post-independence despot in sight. There’s a lovely geometric graphic motif with textures and details that hints back to the island’s Carib heritage but of course the overall impression is strikingly modern.
From simplicity to ornate embellishment – Bhutan’s beautiful banknotes might play by the rules of traditional banknote design, but they do so in a language that’s entirely their own. Check out those flying monkeys on the reverse of the 1 ngultrum note (they also win the prize for the best currency name).
It's uncertain if this banknote is still in circulation, but certainly at some point the Cook Islands’ national currency featured a naked woman seemingly riding a shark, clapping a couple of coconut shells together. You go girl.
To read the complete article, see:
Take Five …. Design’s top banknotes
Wayne Homren, Editor
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