Local money schemes are one of the most immediate and tangible manifestations of Transition. But the voices that are rarely heard are those of the designers who create these beautiful objects. What’s it like to be asked to create bank notes that capture the spirit of the place where you live? So we talked to Charlie Waterhouse of the Brixton Pound, Rick Lawrence of Samskara Design who created the new Totnes Pound notes, and Owen Davis, Art Director of the Bristol Pound.
Each of them has gone through the process of creating a new bank note, so we wanted to know where did they start? What were the considerations they had to bear in mind when designing their notes? How do you start trying to create notes that capture the spirit of the place you live? Here are their answers:
"They remind us that we can all make positive decisions about our spending, and make a real difference to the community around us. They're wonderful invites to us all to step into a better world".
Charlie Waterhouse: Brixton Pound designer.
In the New York Times recently, Dan Crane wrote a piece about local currencies, as part of which he wrote “it’s easy to imagine such notes being fetishized as audiophiles do vinyl”. We wanted to know what our designers thought of this statement. Did they think it was a good thing for their notes to be “fetishized”, or does that undermine the point of the whole thing?
Lastly, given the spread of these currencies, we wanted to know what their advice would be to other designers who approach them who have been asked to create local currency notes. What would they say? What learning might they pass on?
"We believe the evidence is clear; achieving a low or carbon negative society requires localized, more transparent economies based on local ownership. The Bristol Pound is a powerful systemic driver that shortens supply chains, reducing dependence on the fossil fuel intensive transport infrastructure. It also sends a message about what the economy is there to serve. It’s empowering, democratic and delivering change here in Bristol".
Ciaran Mundy, Director of the Bristol Pound