30 August 2016
Emma Noble, Coin Designer, The Royal Mint
I am a member of The Royal Mint’s team of engravers and am the designer behind the Beatrix Potter coin series.
I have tried to make sure that Beatrix’s characters are instantly recognisable on the coins, with every whisker, spine or feather captured in fine detail. I have also tried to achieve a delicate balance between each character and the inscription; the famous names clear for all to see.
I initially draw small sketches and ideas out roughly to see what looks best and what sort of layout works. I need to think about the amount of words needed on the coin and the image whilst also taking into consideration the size that it will be reduced to as obviously coins are quite small. I then decide which design layouts work best and draw them up properly.
These images show me working on my designs from 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions. I take my design and then have to carve it on to plaster so that it’s three dimensional. It is very low relief but I have to make it as close to the original design as possible.
Once the plaster is approved it is then scanned using a laser and the information is sent to a computer. It’s then my job to add lettering, size the design put form on and put an edge on. This is all done on computer and then the information is sent to the reducing room to be cut into steel at coin size. What is cut is called master tooling. It is these tools that make the dies that strike the coins.
Which coin is your favourite and was the most difficult to design?
My favourite coin from the collection has to be Peter Rabbit as he is the most instantly recognisable. I really like the colours and think that he has a great silhouette. The most difficult to design was Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle as she doesn’t have as much shape so I had to spend longer working on this design.
Designing a coin for colour printing is particularly challenging, but the technique can help to bring a design to life, highlighting elements and adding a new perspective. For the Beatrix Potter series, I tried to carefully reflect the delicate watercolour style of the original, much-loved illustrations, created with such care and attention to detail by Beatrix herself.
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