The goal of this project was to create a fictional currency using an armature. I chose to create my currency for one of my personal projects, a comic book called "Naon & Kay." This gave me the opportunity to delve more into the world-building of my comic and create a design that had deep meaning. I also used some interesting theories about the future of currency to supplement my design including "Smart banknotes will be the cash of the future" from Quartz and "Switching Colors with Electricity" from American Science.
To read my extensive reasoning and hypothetical functionality for these banknotes, you can read about it below or click here.
• Adobe Illustrator
Due to the time constraints for this class project and a lack of knowledge in how to draw a ship, I used this 3d Ship Sailing on the Ocean image as a basis for my illustration. It was, along with the Laurel Wreath image, purchased from Shutterstock.
Symbols & Other Elements
About the Currency & Planet Reea
The Planet Reea was founded as an outpost for explorers from Earth and became a prominent trading station. It's a small planet that was previously uninhabited, so the explorers from earth brought a lot of their culture with them. Reea's main Provinces run as Merchant culture, much as the Medici family ran Venice during the Renaissance more than any real government (similar to a plutocracy or an oligarchy).
That being the case, the ship was an iconic image for trade and has been prominent in much of Reea's collective iconography. Even the capitol building, portrayed on the back of the bill, has a form that imitates a wind-filled sail. The ship is also a reference to the Ship of Theseus, symbolizing Reea's change and development while still remaining the same at its core as a leader in trade. It also symbolizes the origin of Reea, being a duplicate of human creation, yet different since it is on another planet. The laurel leaves around the ship (as all laurel wreaths do) means victory and triumph, but also reinforces the Ship of Theseus by being a reversed mirrored image of each other.
The hands coming together to hold the flag shows unity and a coming together of different people to support one whole. However, this imagery has been controversial in recent years because it has not been updated to include the hands of different species and races, something that has become a defining point of Reea as a whole (but was actually because I was using my own hand as reference and because I didn’t think “alien” hands/appendages would look as good). The flag they are holding is actually the flag of Reea United, even though it isn’t seen clearly. An image of the flag is here, I also created it for this project. The flag also incorporates Ship imagery, just in a very abstract way, while also including the circle in the middle, representing “One Universe,” one whole, a unit.
“One Universe” is an ideology held by many planets, believing that all planets have the responsibility to help one another and be a part of the same overarching society of the universe. “We are all equal in the universe. All creation is together and one.” This idea is also a controversial political topic. The symbol is also seen on the back of the bill, in the lower left-hand corner as the sphere “held” by a laurel branch.
“Plus Unum Sumus” means “we are stronger together.”
My idea, along with that article, is that it would be printed with “thermochromatic ink” which changes color based on frequency levels. Since it is a bill that you can put money onto, the lower the amount the closer to red it gets and it goes up the color spectrum to a purple at its maximum capacity of $1,000. There would be a chip in it that holds the currency balance that would distribute the frequency throughout the fibers of the bill to change the color and the amount shown.
I also added a unique barcode on each side of the bill, those are the lines running across it. The yellow strip going down the off-center is a security strip. You can also see the overlay of a sun-like symbol which is just a symbol for the bill’s official-ness.
Last but not least, the front of the bill represents Reea's history and its founding, while the back represents Reea's modern state and the future.