Currency as art? Now there’s a thought. For me, it would have to be classic Monopoly money, for all its beautiful simplicity. And I’m talking about Monopoly before the 21st-century update with the new fangled electronic banking and today’s property prices. With classic Monopoly money, you don’t have to squint to work out what the denomination is. It’s universally recognised worldwide – unlike those collections of notes you sometimes see pinned to the walls of tourist bars. It harks back to a time when you could buy a posh hotel in Mayfair for the price of a long lunch in today’s money. And that can’t be bad.
Will Rowe, Managing director, Rufus Leonard
As a graphic designer, I would typically answer the Dutch currency designed by RDE Oxenaar. It has terrific bold illustrations, intense rich colour and big Helvetica type, with lots of white space. Each note tells a story. Beautiful, timeless, exceptional design, I also rather liked the fact that he managed to incorporate his nickname Ootje on the five guilder note and an irrelevant rabbit watermark on the 250 note. I also used to love how the old Turkish bank notes made me feel. It was like Monopoly money – each note had a six-figure number, and it made you feel like a millionaire.
Alan Dye, Creative director, NB Studio
The design of banknotes seems rather dull – a shame as we use cash every day. Maybe the thinking behind this is that we won’t mind parting with them – if they were an object of beauty it would be harder to prise out of our sweaty little mitts. I do, though, like the Australian bank notes, which are immediately visually appealing. The best thing about them is how they work – made out of recycled plastic, you can’t rip them, and they won’t disintegrate if they accidentally stay in your pocket while your jeans have a wash and blow dry. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have limited-edition special bank notes like we do with stamps. It would be fantastic to get some interesting design and illustration going on.
Helen Rush, Founder, Agency Rush
I’m very taken by the new notes designed by Karin Birgitte Lund for the Danish National Bank. Clean, white and pared down, with an impeccable use of highlight colour for identification – they are everything you expect from Scandinavian design in a banknote. I just can’t help but wonder if the notoriously eurosceptic Danes are slightly suspicious that the notes’ new bridge motif is a ploy to align their notes more closely with the architectural designs of the dreaded Euro.
Richard Village, Strategy director, Fortune Street