A series of premonitory banknotes ...

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First prize in the competition and yet ...

Here is the story of a series of banknotes that never have been realised. In March 2005, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) launched a major competition for the design of a new series of 6 banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000 francs. Several Swiss design studios are invited to take up this challenge until October 2005, the date of submission of the projects. It is the NORM agency (1) through its co-founder Manuel Krebs, who finally wins the first prize for an ambitious work oriented on "the theme of AIDS".

However, these notes will never be printed, because a controversy erupts within the General Management of the Swiss National Bank ... The imagery of certain notes including a fetus on the front of the 100 francs, human organs on the back of 20 francs, a gold bar on the front of 1000 francs or the HI-Virus cell on the front of 200 francs (see below) complete the final dismissal of this innovative project of great aesthetic quality. Following the controversy and to stifle a polemic that has become national, the SNB finally decides, and on the proposal of an enlarged General Management, to adopt the project of the Zurich graphic designer Manuela Pfrunder, second prize in the competition for a less daring and more classic theme of "Switzerland as a tourist destination"!

As a conclusion, we have chosen to show you the front / back project of the 200-franc note ...


The six banknotes projects designed by Manuel Krebs can be downloaded from the SNB website:


(1) Co-founded by Dimitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs, NORM is a team of graphic designers based in Zurich which offers an iconoclastic, but intellectually rigorous approach to typography and graphic design. Website: www.norm.to.

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