Sweden's money gets a beautiful redesign by graphic designer Göran Österlund

Date
1 May 2012
Reading Time
2 minute read

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.

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Sveriges Riksbank: Göran Österlund- Kulturresan, Astrid Lindgren (20 kronor)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Göran Österlund- Kulturresan, Evert Tauber (50 kronor)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Göran Österlund- Kulturresan, Greta Garbo (100 kronor)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Göran Österlund- Kulturresan, Ingmar Bergman (200 kronor)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Göran Österlund- Kulturresan, Birgit Nilsson (500 kronor)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Göran Österlund- Kulturresan, Dag Hammarskjöld (1000 kronor)

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.

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Sveriges Riksbank: Aurora Borealis

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Sveriges Riksbank: Aurora Borealis

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Sveriges Riksbank: Älskade Aktörer (Beloved Actors)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Älskade Aktörer (Beloved Actors)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Kultur i blom (Culture in Bloom)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Kultur i blom (Culture in Bloom)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Inspiration 2012

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Sveriges Riksbank: Inspiration 2012

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Sveriges Riksbank: Natur och kultur i symbios (Nature and Culture in Symbiosis)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Natur och kultur i symbios (Nature and Culture in Symbiosis)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Det avlånga landet (Sweden from North to South)

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Sveriges Riksbank: Det avlånga landet (Sweden from North to South)

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.

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