Emotional, manipulative & guilty: Hypothetical bankcard designs

Published:  May 5, 2014
Lucy Waddington

After carrying out a research project focused on the future of money and how we use it, Consultancy Method developed a collection of bankcards that have physical reactions to the way we spend. Inspired by the evolution of the financial landscape, Consultancy Method were drawn to the rising popularity of local and crypto-currencies, mobile transactions and lending money to peers.

“The role of design is not just to solve problems – historically, designers have always acted as cultural provocateurs,” explains Marei Wollersberger, on Consultancy Method. “In this case, we didn’t want to provide any answers, but rather ask questions through design, by bringing to life a few thought-experiments that could stimulate a debate.”

Challenging three key areas — the effect of privacy on finance, the biological and physiological effect of our spending behaviours, and the overall management of funds — the group were determined to add some personality to these ubiquitous pieces of plastic. Personifying lifeless objects may have initially seemed a daunting task but the creatives approached the brief readily inspired by the user, essentially creating cards that were the embodiments of their owners.

The ‘Mindful’ bankcard

Mindful is a card made from a polymorphic material that reacts to the financial ‘health’ of the account. Appearing smooth when funds are abundant and wilted or shrivelled as the bank balance ‘decays’.

The ‘Frugal’ bankcard

Frugal strips the bankcard down to it’s most raw form, reducing it to nothing more than a chip housed by recycled and repurposed materials.

The ‘Adventurous’ bankcard

Adventurous is covered in triangular facets that allow it to bend and adapt to accommodate a changing environment, ideal for those of us who (usually unknowingly) challenge the lifespan of items in our pockets.

The ‘Jealous’ bankcard

Jealous is designed as a set of two cards that presumably share an account. The robust slices of red plastic are dotted with LEDs that indicate which card has spent more, initiating a game much like tug-of-war where the only real winner is the retailers.

The ‘Hedonistic’ bankcard

Hedonistic inflates with impatience as the user hesitates to spend, creating a bulbous urgency that is difficult to resist.

It is often difficult to interpret some of the products that now most intimately inhabit our lives, encouraging an abstract project that would bring familiar design back to the present, making it real and engaging. Consultancy Method hoped to bring about a conversation surrounding design as we continue to move beyond the limits of language.


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