Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fictional Currency

Well, not to brag or anything but I just made some serious money. No no, you misunderstand, I didn't make money... I made money. Ambiguous, slightly futuristic money to be exact. I owed the lovely Bianca Davies a favor after all the work she did for Agros, so when she asked if I wanted to make the fictional currency for the short film she was working on, I instantly agreed.

I started off by doing a massive web search for pictures of exotic currency from around the world, and found that many countries have some pretty awesome money. I wanted mine to be detailed, unique, and have that little something extra. In other words, I was gonna go nuts with this.

After some sketching I settled on a design that was graphically and functionally interesting. I decided on having four bills. The design was based on the concept of the currency being worn around the neck, the bills folded then threaded through two sets of holes to hang on the chest just below the neck of a persons shirt. Furthermore, when stacked on top of each other, the angled corners of the bills would allow numerical value of all the bills beneath to still be visible.

Now that I had a concept I needed the design. I was told my influences could be pulled and

blended from: India, Nepal, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and Hong Kong, and that this was to take place slightly in the future. Using a little creativity I pulled together and made up a variety of symbols and images to represent this fictional culture, including cows with antlers, brooding bearded statues, and flying Da Vinci machines. Personally I was pleased with the result:

Click these links to see it in High Resolution if you are interested in seeing the details: FRONT | BACK

There is a lot of little doodads and hidden silliness (as is my style) including little sayings in a cryptic script. spoiler: look at the text in a mirror and it will be legible (I know, clever overload) Each saying is a famous quote about money.

Phew! Okay, the concept was cool, the designs were approved... next I had to pull these things into reality. At an office supply store I picked up a ream of executive linen paper and a few packs of ink... and began printing like crazy. Printing double sided pages on a home printer is a nightmare I will not go into here, but let me tell you it is about as exact as trying to hit a mosquito with a potato cannon.

After some hair pulling I had forty copies of each bill, with punched holes and some little hole reinforcements spray painted gold to give it a little extra touch.

Of course I had to deliver them in a silver briefcase (with dark glasses obviously). I also aged and distressed twenty of each bill, but that was really just a tedious process of wrinkling paper.

To test the durability of the bills Spenser and I each kept a full set in our wallets. We had fun trying to get people to guess what country they were from. We got some really educated guesses.

In conclusion: I wish that making money was always this fun.