Coin IconIt’s common for open-source programmers to make money, but how often is money made by open-source programs?  Read on to discover how dutch artist Stani Michiels used Ubuntu and open-source software to design the new collectors edition dutch 5 Euro coin!

In 2008, Stani Michiels entered and won a competition being held by the Dutch Finance Ministry to design a collectable coin using the theme “Netherlands and Architecture”.  Using a strict toolbox of only 100% free software, he designed the coin on Ubuntu using Python in his self-written SPE Editor, and also used GIMP, Inkscape and Phatch throughout the process.  He commented that some of the finishing touches were completed on his Asus EEE pc taking advantage of Ubuntu’s performance on limited hardware.

Here is an image of the coin, and below is a breakdown of some of the symbolism he built into his design, much of which may not be apparent the first time any of us who aren’t Dutch take a look at it.


These are the finished illustrations.  For the design of the coin, he used the names of many influential Dutch architects, and used the weight of the letters in the names as a sort of half-tone representation of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.


On the back of the coin, he wanted to represent both books written on the subject of architecture by Dutch artists, as well as to arrange the books in an order that when wrapped around the outside of the coin produce an empty shape in the middle that shares the same silhouette as the Netherlands.  He placed birds over the map to represent regional capitals and the entire back of the coin also resembles looking up from street level toward the sky, surrounded by buildings.

Image construction

Being trained as a Graphic Designer, I have to applaud Stani’s design on a conceptual level, and his design skills and composition are unsurpassed.  He managed to use the entire potential of the surface of this coin to express the theme and it truly stands alone in its design.  As an open-source and particularily as an Ubuntu user I applaud his choice of software, proving that not only is Ubuntu able and ready to participate with creative work on a professional level, but that it’s award winning and second-to-none.

Great work Stani, we can’t wait to see more from you!

{ images used in this post are licenced cc-by from Stani Michiels, whose blog you can read here }

4 Responses to “Making Money with Ubuntu”

  1. Mute Says:

    The image of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is just awesome.

  2. Robin Mills Says:

    This is quite extra-ordinary. This a design for the 21st century in every way. The graphical concepts are outstanding and execution of the design amazing. With talented people like Stani, the future of Architecture in the Netherlands is in good hands. Outstanding, breathtaking work.

  3. André Renault Says:

    This is a true work of art. Stani, keep on designing! Your mix of everything makes it truly beautiful. If only the Canadian pieces were so beautifully made, I would be more encouraged to collect them.

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