Präsenz/Presence → Design DepartmentHMKW Berlin

MA Communication Design 03 × Jenny Bergström

Lazar Vujanic

«Pillars of the Nation»

The territory of the former Yugoslavia, has always been on the crossroads between East and West, socialism and capitalism, clashes of religions and customs, a place where a strong, viable tendency towards modernism meets long-time cherished tradition. Once united in Yugoslavia, six countries eventually became independent, followed by a horrifying blood-shed in the ‘90s which left the infrastructure and communities deeply scared in the middle of the world’s biggest development period. These scars became the burning problem within communities, affecting geo-political, economic, social and cultural scene of the newly formed countries.

In “Pillars of the Nation”, I have explored different artistic elements that shape a country’s culture and public perspective towards their shared identity. In its turbulent history, the country of Serbia has changed its currency designs to reflect political ideologies many times, starting from Baroque-like illustrations in the times of the kingdom, to socialist portraits during the communist regime. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, the country reached the world’s highest recorded hyperinflation with the rate of one million percent. The images of banknotes with “too many zeros” are still fresh in people’s memories and represent a strong visual clue for a very dark period in the national history.

The latest redesign was done in 2003 and show historical figures in the front, and their achievements in the back. Although most people are familiar with these figures, a lot of people are not able to list all of them and their titles and barely anyone refers to them when they talk about the money. My idea is to propose a different approach and stress out the political, social and cultural aspects that have been neglected in the past years on the bills, that would serve as a reminder of their importance. Each banknote represents a different topic, following an overarching visual language and theme. Insisting on categories such as arts, culture, education, ecology, etc. rather than on historical figures, I hope to influence people’s perspectives on the values important for a prosperous country.

Image credits: Image of Mass demonstration (dpa/picture-alliance) Yogosalvian Bank note (Public Domain)