Method says the project is inspired by recent changes in the financial landscape, including the growth of mobile payments, peer-to-peer lending and the rise of local and crypto-currencies.
Method head of insights Marei Wollersberger says, ‘The role of design is not just to solve problems – historically, designers have always acted as cultural provocateurs. In this case, we didn’t want to provide any answers, but rather ask questions through design, by bringing to life a few thought-experiments that could stimulate a debate.’
The consultancy carried out three experiments, one look at the effect of privacy (and lack of privacy) on finances, one looking at how the body’s hormones and physiology affect how people manage their finances, and one looking at how to instil ‘personality’ into bankcards.
For this project, a series of different cards were created.
Method created a card using polymorphic material, which changes to indicate financial health and ‘crumples’ when the user has spent too much. Method says, ‘We naturally tend to read smooth as healthy and shrivelled as decayed. Could polymorphic material give context to financial health?’
This design sees the bankcard stripped down to just the chip, with housings made from different materials, including old bits of cardboard.
Made from a faceted structure, Method says this bankcard ‘adapts to accommodate a changing environment … Continually finding itself in new places’.
This is designed as a set of two cards for sharing, presumably through a joint account. LEDs on the cards show who has spent more on the account, and users compete in ‘a tug of war where equality is impossible’.
According to Method, ‘This card inflates until bursting point and invades your personal space as it cries for attention.’
Philip Blakie, a designer at Method who worked on the project, says, ‘With an absence of physical experience, it is hard to properly understand some of the products which most intimately inhabit our lives. With Method Money we wanted to critically engage with a future that will be beyond the limits of language, and use design to bring it into the present, make it real and engage in conversation.’