Design Your Money

Nune Hakhverdyan

Art critic, journalist

Facebook users seek opportunities to happily respond. Such an opportunity was the unveiling of the new banknotes by the Central Bank of Armenia ahead of circulating them in 2018.

When sketches of the new banknotes were revealed, it became clear that their design and the messages communicated through the design could be easily and humorously parodied. 

The works of three authors, Edward Kurghinyan, Vardan Vardanyan, and Suren Simonyan, were announced as the winners in the contest for the design of new 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000, and 50 000 banknotes.

“From the winning works, Central Bank experts created sketches, which likewise are not final,” said Central Bank General Secretary Davit Nahapetyan.

But the sketches by social media users on November 22 were more creative and original than what the Central Bank is proposing.

The new banknotes’ boring and uninteresting design mainly became an object of ridicule. They tried to do a lot, but in reality the visual message became a bit dull. 

For example, the composition of Paruyr Sevak on the 1000 note, with his statue, house, the panoramic view of his native village, and fragments of his manuscripts, is more like an ironic imitation than the happy thematic specimens created and shared on social media.

While the sketch for the 500 note, with Noah, the animals, and the cross in the stone cast, is almost like an utterly bad novel, since the desire to describe the ark as a holy relic is the work not of an illustrated banknote but of literature. 

The design of money is the job of all of us… such was the reaction to the news of the release of the new generation of banknotes dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Armenian dram. 

And since this is folklore, copyright can take a back seat to the response of the people. 

Nune Hakhverdyan

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