50 pence

Take that, Matthew Dent! The Royal Mint has debuted the first of 29 50-pence coins with different fun tails sides, leading up the the 2012 Olympics extravaganza. The design, by nine-year-old Florence Jackson of Bristol, was the winning design from 17,000 submissions to a BBC contest. While her illustration of a high jumper may be somewhat clunky, (I thought it was a child swinging from monkey bars), it sure beats the logo designed by a six-year-old.

the designer
Jackson, and her coin

The WTF story here isn’t about a creative young girl designing the back of a coin. That’s all good. But I only have to ask, when did coins become the go-to medium for cultural expression? While we all enjoy the jingle of mini-artworks in our pocket, the timing seems odd, having just unveiled new designs for the full set of coins only last year. Remember?

Dent coins
Matthew Dent’s D&AD Gold-wining designs

So what gives, Britain? Are coins the only way to show creativity to the world? Are crowd-sourced contests the new standard for collecting ideas? I expect more from a country with such a rich and thriving design profession. The world looks to Britain for the next new thing in fashion, advertising, music, and arts of various kinds. Are coins the new Cooper Mini? Maybe it’s true, British design “not what it used to be.” (just kidding, I love you Britain!)

via Design Week »