Money, Money, Money.


Why is it that almost all foreign currency looks so much better than the American dollar? I’m not bashing the buck, but from a design perspective, to me foreign currency is simply more visually interesting than the American greenback. Case in point, the currency of the year awarded by The International Bank Note Society for the New Zealand for its $5 polymer note. The design features the face of New Zealand native mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary, with a backdrop of Mount Cook and, a yellow-eyed penguin seemingly printed with what looks like metallic gold foil.

Now, with that said, I don’t think this is an award winning piece of design in the true sense. It is busy, and burdened with an abundance of imagery, and various patterns, but if you look at it in terms of a contemporary painting or print, it’s quite successful. I know that the reason for the patterns, color, overprints, and such are due to security issues and a need to foil counterfeiters, but this is something I might hang on a wall, and that is often the case for foreign currency with me. I’m not going to do that with American currency.

For more about the competition you can find it in this article at along with a video. And below are some additional curency examples.










Bitcoin Explained.

Bitcoin” is changing the way we think of currency in the 21st century. The idea can be rather challenging to to explain, let alone animate or design visuals for. This Vimeo short directed, designed and animated by Duncan Elms does a fantastic job of breaking down what bitcoin is and how it works. Elms uses sophisticated visual elements, type treatments and visual effects to explain what it is, how it works, and what it means for the future. The video short is captivating and holds your attention. The script, written and narrated by Marc Fennell never speaks over your head and compliments the visuals so well. If you are un familiar with Bitcoin and how it works, or if you just want to see a great animated explanation, watch the video below.

Design Friday. We Make Money Into Art.

What do you do when you get an assignment asking you to take currencies of the world, and make them into a calendar? You create something that is beautiful, that’s what.

Russian bank Sberbank hired Russian design agency Fastway to create their  2010 calendar.  The requirement, Use currencies from around the world, and  don’t get bored when looking at its pages during 12 months. Fir the “There is Only Money in the Bank” calendar, Fastway took 12 currencies and made graphic story based on elements from different notes. It took Fastway just over two months to take the un-design friendly elements and create these wonderful images.

Now I just need to figure out how to get a copy of this calendar.