I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. (I had similar thoughts when I first got hold of the new note, I wasn’t sure if the note was genuine and legitimate. Besides, I was changing some dollars at a dodgy place in Welawatte.)
I told him that the note was not a ‘tourist souvenir’ but a real currency note. He honestly couldn't believe that we had such bad designs mass produced.
Currency notes are like stamps. Some people collect them, cherish them, save them and show them off occasionally. In their vast collections, these notes represent a nation and the level of intelligence of the natives. It’s like the Olympics of the currency notes and this time we have sent an imbecile to run the marathon for us.
The new note looks as if the designer had absolutely no understanding of the colour wheel, or any idea of complimentary/contrasting colours. There are floating objects all over the place, the colour combination looks like puke that comes out of an eighth grader at the Big Match. The designer has no sense of design, and he has no clue of scale or proportion. It is virtually impossible to find a human being with no imagination, how original is it to portray the raising of the flag this way? If the intention behind the design was to encourage someone sitting in a small print shop in Weeraketiya to produce counterfeits, the Central Bank has done a wonderful job.
Enough bashing the new note, Indi’s post here has done a good job of it, already.
We have produced some fabulous notes in the past – the flora and fauna collection with the salmon-pink two rupee note being one of my favourites. We have also been progressive and innovative in our design – the plastic Rs 200 note even had the denomination imprinted in Braille.
So I took this ugly note to a beauty treatment, a quick 5 minute in Photoshop – only to manipulate the colours and make something decent out of it. I added a few touches like the shadow beneath the floating soldiers and fixed the sheath of rice and the pot (pun-kalasa) inside the outline of Sri Lanka. It was very clear to me that this could have been improved a hundred times, if there were people of some intelligence taking care of the business. Easily.
Here’s glimpse of my favourite Sri Lankan currency collection from 1979: