Norway’s banknotes get pixelated nature-inspired design

Back in 2014, creative agency Snøhetta and Metric Design won a competition to redesign Norway’s banknotes. Finally, all of the country’s paper currency has been redesigned and nearly all entered into circulation.

The first banknotes, the 100 and 200 kroner, were released in 2017 and now the 50 and 500 kroner bills continue the beautiful dynamics set out by both teams. According to Snøhetta, the new notes are designed to reflect prosperity and the significance of the sea in Norway’s national identity. And although this is the eighth banknote series in Norway, it’s the first time that Norges Bank has chosen designs where portraits weren’t the central feature.

The design of the pixelated banknotes

One side of each bill features a contemporary, pixelated concept by Snøhetta. Abstract in form, the designs still have a familiar, comforting shape that connects them back to the nautical images that inspired them.

Norway's 50 kroner banknotes

The pixelated patterns on the 50 kroner banknotes represent gentle wind, as seen from its dense cubic patterning as well as its long tame waves. The 1,000 kroner notes have strong winds instead, as seen from the long, pixelated cubes as well as the short, choppy waves.

On the other side of the banknotes, Metric Design’s more classical imagery lays in contrast to Snøhetta’s modernism.

Norway's 500 kroner banknotes

“By linking the coastline metaphor with a graphical expression inspired by ancient mosaic artifacts of coloured glass or stone, the designers have translated this analog art form into the mosaics of our time: the pixels,” said Snøhetta.

With the release of the 50 and 500 kroner bills, there is only one more missing to complete the entire set. The 1000 kroner will go into circulation in late 2019.

Norway's 50 kroner banknotes

“While the final release will mark a new and fresh start for the entire banknote collection, the release could also be the end of an era as the notes could well be Norway’s last paper currency before stepping into a future of digital-only currency and exchange.”

Norway's 500 kroner banknotes

Though cash transactions in Norway are lower than 10%, Snøhetta believes that these banknotes symbolize a nation. What are your thoughts?

And if you’re not into carrying cash, find out why Dogecoin is such a popular cryptocurrency.