The stylish reverse designs that feature on the three coins in the 007 coin series were created by Matt Dent and Christian Davies, partners at design agency Bison Bison.
This is Christian’s first coin series for The Royal Mint, while Matt has completed several commissions including the 2012 Charles Dickens £2 coin, the 2011 World Wildlife Fund 50p coin and the suite of reverse designs for the definitive circulating coins from the 1p to the £1, released in 2008. We found out what inspired the design duo.
Q: Matt, you’re no stranger to coin design. How did collaborating with Christian for this project work?
Matt: Just like my previous coin designs, it’s been a really enjoyable process and I think we both shared similar thoughts on what could work for the Bond coins.
Christian: Matt is definitely the expert between us! But I think we both brought some different routes and some shared ideas to the table.
Q: How did designing a coin differ from your usual work?
Christian: It really is a totally different challenge to most design work that we do. You have to focus on a very concentrated area to convey an idea or a theme; it’s design in its purest form really.
Matt: I really enjoy graphic design as it has such a practical purpose, generally solving a problem of some kind. We can work on huge campaigns to convey a message, or something as simple as signage that gives directions. Coinage isn’t too different really – it has such an important function.
Q: How did you approach researching the subject?
Matt: If anything, there is almost too much to think about! There is so much that you could draw on – different films, villains, technology. We decided very early on to focus on iconic imagery from the Bond films; the elements people would recognise instantly.
Christian: We’ve both enjoyed re-watching the Bond films. I remember watching them growing up being wowed by the cars and weapons, things like the submarine car – any young boys dream! We chose the Aston Martin DB5, ’Wet Nellie’ and tuxedo as they were so iconic.
Q: Chris, how did you find working with The Royal Mint?
Christian: There was a lot of collaboration with the designers at The Royal Mint based in Llantrisant (by strange coincidence we were both born in Wales). Chris and I liked a blueprint-style design so their input was invaluable in achieving this, especially in the more organic, soft lines of the tuxedo. With their advice, we were able to create complex relief in just line form.
Q: When the complete collection is viewed together it reveals the 007 motif; whose idea was that?
Christian: That was Matt’s idea, we wanted something to unite the three coins as a collection.
Matt: The motif seemed appropriate to connect the three coins, especially as it has run throughout all the films, just in slightly different adaptions. It provides an extra interest and texture without overcomplicating the designs.
Q: We have to ask; do you have a favourite Bond actor or Bond film?
Christian: That is really difficult! I think I’d have to say Daniel Craig and what he brought to the character and the films. It took Bond in a new gritty and dark direction.
Matt: I’d have to agree and say Daniel Craig.
Q: Matt – we can’t let you go without asking how you feel about your first coin designs.
Matt: They still make me smile! I’ve got two daughters, aged six and four. They love picking up and looking at coins and notice things we don’t. I’m sure they don’t really believe I designed them!