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Iconic design objects on Czech banknotes | UMPRUM

The students of Czech design school UMPRUM could redesign the looks of Czech banknotes and official documents, and Tuan Vuong Trong’s works will also be printed as commemorative banknotes.

During the two-semester design task, the students of UMPRUM, i.e. the academy of applied arts in Prague, collaborated with the State Printing Works of Securities. First, they examined the appearance of banknotes and personal documents, and then they jumped right into the project. An exhibition showcasing the completed designs opened in the Czech National Bank on June 24.

In the course of the assignment, the young designers redesigned all six denominations of Czech banknotes (100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 koruna). The completed series display some sort of easily recognizable symbol of state representation and national identity, however, instead of the portrays of statesmen and historical figures, the majority of designers turned to Czech buildings, landscapes or objects for inspiration.

This assignment was very complex and students had the opportunity to find out for themselves truly how challenging it was. It combines illustration, typography, and work with security features. It must be designed with the knowledge of printing in mind, which differs significantly from standard printed materials. It was also difficult to develop the iconography so that the banknotes looked uniform, but also so that at first glance they were easily distinguishable.” – explains Radek Sidun, head of the Studio of Type Design and Typography.

The works of one of the students, Tuan Vuong Trong won the hearts of the collaborating printing company so much that the denominations designed by them will be printed as commemorative banknotes. The young designer was inspired by the past 100 years of Czech design and the iconic objects that have become well-known within and outside the country. This is how Pavel Janák’s Cubist ceramic jar Krystal, Jaroslav Ježek’s porcelain Stallions or the red inflatable buffalo designed by game designer Libuše Niklová in the 1970s ended up on the banknotes.

In addition to banknotes, the students also redesigned the official personal documents currently in use: they gave a visually uniform look to the personal ID card, driver’s license, passport and vehicle registration certificate.

“The project was inspiring for the State Printing Works of Securities and this fact is evident not only from their issuing of commemorative banknotes, but also that they started another project with our school”  – evaluated Jindřich Vybíral, the rector of UMPRUM Prague the fruitful collaboration.

The exhibition is open between June 24 and December 18, 2020 at the Czech National Bank (Na příkopě 864/28, Prague 1).

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