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Norway's new "artsy" currency

Billy Fasig

From a young age, I've always thought the US currency was pretty bland. Don't twist my words though, I always loved having money in my pocket, but I never really liked the design of them. Once I started expanding my design side, I really started to question why the US currency hadn't changed throughout the years. I'm not talking about slight edits to the currency forms, mainly for extra security measures. I'd like to see current bills scrapped and completely redesigned from the ground up.

Well, the United States didn't do it, but Norway is on the verge. This spring (2014), Norges Bank of Norway held a competition to redesign the new banknotes. As the mission stated, "the purpose of the competition was to arrive at a proposal that can be the artistic basis of the new banknote series and communicate 'The Sea' in an appropriate manner." A design group called The Metric System was selected for the front side, while the reverse side of the banknotes would feature art by Snøhetta Design. [image shown below]

I personally think these new banknotes are stunning. I'd love to see something like this adapted for American currency. The front sides leave plenty of space for security elements in the design. It features five illustration designs based on the Norwegian landscape/life, all of which illustrate the sea in some fashion.

The reverse side is extremely interesting to me. Snøhette created an idea that is pretty clever in my opinion. First, you notice that the designs are somewhat abstractions of the illustrations from the front side of the banknotes. However, it goes a little further than that. As the amounts of the bills increase, so do the length of the rectangles in the design. Why is this? It's a concept based on the Beaufort wind force scale (yet again a reference to the sea). As the denominations increase, the abstraction of the wind force does as well. You'll see on the 50 kroner that it's only small bars and slight pixelation. Once you get to the 1000 kroner, the bars are extremely long with absolutely no clarity in what the original design is.

These designs are set to enter circulation in Norway in 2017. 

Now really, who wouldn't want to see the United State switch things up?

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