Seven new pennies

Not liking the new British coins all that much, I have to say.

Apart from the fact they look a lot like the cardboard money that I used to have in my toy cash register many years ago, they don’t look very friendly to tourists who might have little or no English, and/or just bad eyesight. I’d have thought the first rule of currency design would be to use biggish numbers, not just (in some cases, tiny) words?

Tags: , , ,

16 Responses to “Seven new pennies”

  1. Johannes says:

    If you want better coins:
    http://www.ecb.int/bc/euro/coins/common/html/index.en.html

    (Sorry, I simply couldn’t resists…)

  2. New money always looks like it came from a Fisher-Price set.

    I really like these coins. The actual worded denomination on currency is only really used as an identifier for a short while before size and shape are picked up; that’s why US notes suck so hard. And the individual designs are nice and striking.

    – Chris

  3. calum says:

    @Chris: of course, but tourists don’t have that time to pick up the size and shape, they might only be in the country for a couple of days and need to hit the ground running. Money really isn’t the place to be sacrificing function for form, IMHO. Which, as you say, is why US notes suck so hard :)

    @Johannes: well, I live in Ireland now, so those are the coins I use every day anyway :)

  4. Isn’t there maybe a number on the other side?

  5. tourists don’t have that time to pick up the size and shape, they might only be in the country for a couple of days and need to hit the ground running

    This isn’t the case IMO. Tunisian coinage, for instance, is simply impossible (it apparently does away with a marked denomination in Roman script at all), and yet after two days me and my girlfriend were using it comfortably. And anyway, do you optimise for people who will be using the currency for hours, or for years?

    Money really isn’t the place to be sacrificing function for form, IMHO

    It’s not sacrificing functionality for form. In practice, users (…ahem, consumers) distinguish currency primarily by colour and shape after the initial learning period, which is fairly short. So making the coins more distinct from each other in exchange for a slight reduction in font size is an excellent tradeoff.

    I live in Ireland now, so those are the coins I use every day anyway

    This is one of the things I find curious about a broad revamp of Sterling right now. It doesn’t strike me as something a responsible government would do if it had committed to abolishing its own currency in favour of the Euro within a practical timescale.

    – Chris

  6. calum says:

    @murray: There might be, but I’d assume it’s just the Queen’s head as they have now.

  7. calum says:

    > And anyway, do you optimise for people who will be using the currency for hours, or for years?

    The former, surely, because the people who’ll be using it for years don’t lose anything by having numbers rather than words on their coins. (It would be different if they were ‘optimising’ by changing the sizes and shapes, of course, but that’s not what’s happening here…)

  8. Chris: But HM Government has *not* committed to abolishing sterling, “within a practical timescale” or otherwise.

    These coins are the same size and shape as the coins they replace, as far as I can see, so long-term users will already be used to them.

    (Is the title of this post a quotation or something? I can only see one design for the penny…)

  9. I’m surprised people aren’t making more of a fuss about the fact that the royal arms used are the English version throughout the whole UK.

  10. Gaute Lindkvist says:

    I have to disagree, they look very good and they retain the classic shapes that everyone in Britain would be used to.

    Yes, having words on them rather than numbers may be a slight problem for tourists, but nothing they can’t get over.

  11. Götz Waschk says:

    The British should simply adapt the Euro, problem solved.

  12. calum says:

    @ Götz: well, almost… but then they’d need to have another competition to design the reverse side of those instead :)

  13. @calum: I can’t imagine they wouldn’t have the Queen’s head on the obverse, at least until we finally get a republic. (The reverse is actually the side which *doesn’t* have the head on, which might be counterintuitive.)

  14. > @murray: There might be, but I’d assume it’s just the Queen’s head as they have now.

    Oh. I was hoping they would remove that. On the coins too.

  15. Alan says:

    as a man of style and one knowledgeable of good design it caught my eye to see you use the not so stylish construction of “and/or” in your writing
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/And/or

    the designs aren’t brilliant but I like how there is a great variation of shape in the British coins compared to the Euro coins.
    I do miss the old 50 pence piece and abhor the fiddly small 1 and 2 cent coppers we’re stuck with (damned euro pennies are nearly as bad as the old Irish ha’pennies)

  16. One coin I got confused about in the US was the “one dime” coin. Not only did they decide to give the value in words, they give it in a unit that isn’t used on any of the other coins.

    Once you know it is a 10 cent coin you can see where the name comes from, but it couldn’t have hurt to include a number on the coin.