Designers Rip Into The New $5 Note

Designers Rip Into The New $5 Note
SHARE
THIS



The new $5 note has received a lashing the past 24 hours.

Yesterday, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) revealed the design of the $5 note pending its official release on September 1 this year.

But not everyone is loving it. Within hours of the RBA release, articles popped up around the interwebs parodying the design. Below is the new note, sans parodies.

new $5 note_back new $5 note

News.com.au called it ‘vomit like’ – referencing social media posts – and Pedestrian.TV pulled together the numerous photoshopped fivers that are circulating. It’s garnered so much traction online The Guardian opened a thread for its audience to have their say. And it’s been picked up overseas by The Telegraph in the UK and New Zealand’s stuff.co.nz.

Not everyone abolishes the design – this journo liked it – but it’s hard to ignore the scornful comments coming from social media. Some designers too aren’t pleased with it, labelling it a “wasted opportunity”, a late April Fool’s joke and rendering it ‘design-by-committee’.

True, we do not have the brief for the design, so the comments are coming purely from an observational viewpoint. B&T understands the design was from a culmination of work from internal and external designers, with work from RBA’s printing company Note Printing Australia. The RBA selected one design from three and a preferred designer to refine the note.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Jaid Hulsbosch, director at design agency Hulsbosch, from quipping it’s like a late April Fool’s joke.

“I believe the Next Generation $5 note is very embarrassing for Australian design,” he told B&T.

“It unfortunately does not set a new standard; this was a great opportunity to create a design hallmark that reflected Australia’s ambitions and enterprise for the future.”

“I think the Queen looks like the rest of us feel,” remarked Graham Barton, creative director at design and branding agency Folk.

“They’re not great are they?”

Both Barton and Jennifer Segail, managing director and founder at design agency Jam&Co, agree it looks like ‘design-by-committee’ – a colloquialism for an idea that has many designers but no clear concept.

“You need to have focus otherwise the design can become confused and complicated which I think is what has happened here,” said Segail. “My opinions are purely based on what I see in front of me, but understand that the brief and the process would have played a major role in this rather disappointing outcome.”

Barton added it was “grasping at prickly straws”.

“It’s commendable to retain a distinctly Australian signature, resisting the temptation to simply gravitate to another’s visual style – be it drop-shadowy-Americana or Euro-minimalism,” he said.

But, if this is reflective of a nation, it’s unsurprising it’s getting paid out so much.

While the RBA said the note was designed to maintain the similar elements of the original $5, so as not to confuse people, Jam&Co’s Segail begs to differ.

“I believe it has been a wasted opportunity,” she said. “Surely we, Australia, should be able to update and modernise a $5 note quite dramatically without confusing people who are pulling notes from their wallets.”

Dan Ratner, managing director from design agency uberbrand believed the design was a missed opportunity to celebrate Aussie icon Fred Hollows.

“While there is a definite place for Queen Elizabeth in our currency, the five dollar note presents a great chance to showcase a true Australian hero who championed tirelessly to restore sight to those in need,” he said.

“There’s even a petition to ‘Put Fred on the Fiver’ instead of the current Parliament House image.”

And the actual design elements of the note are questioned.

“The complete mix match of images, lack of element hierarchy, and overall feeling of design confusion makes us look like we don’t know who we are,” said Segail.

“The overall artwork lacks simplicity and consistency – two critical principles for any iconic design,” put in Hulsbosch.

“It’s an over-complicated vision that results in a contradictory layout with a battle of detail versus graphic elements. You can’t have both. From the Queen’s head and on the reverse side Parliament House; the overwrought detailing fights wildly with interpretative graphics of the Prickly Moses wattle and the Easters Spinebill.”

Still, the ‘tactile’ element introduced to make the note easier to distinguish for those with visual impairments is to be applauded, added Hulsbosch.

And yet Folk’s Barton said the practicalities have overpowered the aesthetics.

“Clearly, practicality has been prioritised over aesthetics,” he said. “Assisting the vision impaired and foiling forgers. Which is difficult to argue against. But not impossible.”

Please login with linkedin to comment

$5 note Advertising Standards Bureau Blis Media customer fatigue reserve bank of australia

Latest News

Would TikTok Be Missed?
  • Opinion

Would TikTok Be Missed?

In this opinion piece, Alpha Digital’s head of performance Amir Rezaee outlines the impact to brands of a potential banning of TikTok in Australia The six weeks or so since TikTok announced its local Australian office has been a busy period. Aiming to make a similar impression on SMBs as it has on its 1.6m […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
NextMedia’s frankie And Gardening Australia Magazines Report “Surge In Sales”
  • Media

NextMedia’s frankie And Gardening Australia Magazines Report “Surge In Sales”

Amid the sadness of magazine closures, the challenges of COVID-19, and industry concern as companies merge or change hands, some magazines are thriving. NextMedia titles such as the much-loved frankie and ABC Gardening Australia magazine have been enjoying a surge in sales during this period of home isolation. Gardening Australia retail sales have been robust […]

Mag Closures & The New Landscape For Earned Media
  • Opinion

Mag Closures & The New Landscape For Earned Media

In this guest post, MINT’s publicity director, Nathan McIlroy (pictured below), explores the new norm for Australian media and says Bauer’s/Mercury Capital’s recent mag closures should be viewed as an exciting opportunity for the brave… Last week’s announcement that new owners Mercury Capital were to permanently close eight of Bauer Media’s magazines sent shockwaves through […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Jamie Whincup And A Host Of Aussie Personalities Star In Club Marine Series
  • Media

Jamie Whincup And A Host Of Aussie Personalities Star In Club Marine Series

In a first for the Australian insurance market, Club Marine, Australia’s largest provider of boat and pleasure-craft insurance, has released a new series of videos to help explain insurance cover. With a few familiar Aussie personalities to help out, Club Marine is helping its members, as well as the broader boating community, to understand the […]

KitKat Partners With R U OK?
  • Media

KitKat Partners With R U OK?

No one enjoys a chocolate finger for morning tea like the B&T office. On other occasions we might even have a KitKat.

oOh! Launches The Junkee Network
  • Media

oOh! Launches The Junkee Network

Junkee Media and parent company oOh!media have launched a powerful new way to reach young Australians – the Junkee Network. Combining Junkee Media’s content platforms with oOh!’s leading Out of Home assets in venues and universities across the country, the Junkee Network will be the largest and most influential youth content network in the country. […]

Research Reveals Aussie Small Businesses Upping Digital Marketing Spend
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Research Reveals Aussie Small Businesses Upping Digital Marketing Spend

Australian small business owners are turning to skilled local freelancers and upping their digital marketing spend as they move online to connect with customers and keep cash flow positive. The Federal Government’s pandemic response has earned a tick from small business owners as have those of New South Wales and Queensland, but one in three […]

Melbourne, Australia - August 6, 2015: A woman walks past an Optus store on Bourke St. Optus is the second largest telecommunications company in Australia.
  • Technology

Optus Assistant Chatbot Surpasses 2 Million Conversations

In the last 12 months, Optus’ AI Assistant Chatbot has surpassed two million conversations, with 1 in 6 Optus customers having their queries resolved immediately, providing a seamless experience without needing to speak to a person. Optus Assistant greets every customer that comes through My Optus App Messaging and its Web Messaging service with on average […]