Other countries’ currency always seems more exciting than our own – it’s so colourful! Heck even Australia’s polymer banknotes are waterproof for all those surfer dudes. But as long as we’ve got a monarchy the design of our money will remain fairly standard – no offence Queen Liz. So how often does a country actually re-design their currency? Not very, is the answer. But when Sweden’s Sveriges Riksbank (the world’s oldest central bank) recently announced the winner of the competition they held to design Sweden’s new kronor banknotes our cartoon dollar sign eyes were all agog at the designs.
Göran Österlund, graphic designer and engraver, was the overall winner with his set of designs entitled Kulturresan (Cultural journey). The Riksbank provided an official (and charismatically stunted) statement as to why it was chosen, saying:
“The submission is a tightly cohesive series in which the different banknotes share a common idiom and the interplay of the face and reverse sides is unambiguous and harmonic… The composition of the banknotes is consistent and confident… The overall impression is of a beautiful and user-friendly banknote series based on a fine balance of innovation and Swedish tradition.”
What’s interesting though is looking at the other entries. So varied and inspiring it’s great seeing how differently the artists, graphic designers, architects and other creatives who entered approached this unique brief. With each note having an assigned Swedish cultural figure with a corresponding colour, the diverse use of tones, the correlation between denomination and image and composition make for small rectangles of excellent design and artwork.