Euro Designer Luc Luycx

Engraver Luc Luycx

Luc Luycx (pronounced Lowx) was a 43-year-old computer engineer and coin designer who lived in Dendermonde, Belgium. Luycx had been working at the Koninklijke Belgische Munt (Royal Belgium Mint) for 15 years, designing coins on computer. In 1996, Luyncx created a series of coins in CorelDRAW and sumbitted them to the design competition held by every EU member state, with the exception of Denmark. He was not alone of course. Professional coin designers, artists and sculptors from all over the European Union submitted their own designs for the contest which was limited to three themes: architectural, abstract and European personalities.

A European jury of independent experts chose the nine best series out of a total of 36 in March 1997. The winning design was the clear favourite of an opinion poll organised by the European Commission among both the general public and a wide range of currency users' organisations, including consumers and representatives of the blind and the visually impaired, and also with the European Parliament. In the final stages 63.8% of a sample of 1900 europeans selected Luycx's series of coins, featuring the map of Europe with all the countries' borders and a background symbolizing Europe with 12 stars. The final decision on the design was taken by the European Council meeting in Amsterdam in June 1997. Luycx won the competition for the common face of the coins and today his designs appear on the back of 50 billion euro coins circulating throughout Europe. He also received 24,000 ECU for his prize-winning series of design.

Who is who

Luycx's career started out quite differently, as he first worked as a computer engineer. He had no experience with creating designs on the computer, but loved to paint and draw with a pen. When his supervisor asked him to take a coin engraving course 10 years ago, he was introduced to CorelDRAW and his new passion for designing coins began. "When I was designing the coins, I made rough sketches on paper and scanned them into the computer," said Luycx. "I did the rest of the work, including the design and the editing, with CorelDRAW".

Designing the euro

Luycx's main concern was making the value of the coin clear at first glance and even from a distance. So, with clear-cut numbers in his head, he set to work on the design which also emphasises European integration. Next to the number inscriptions of the one, two and five cent coins, Luycx placed a tiny globe with the outlines of the European continent. On some Euro coins, the 15 EU countries are clearly separated, while on others, the individual countries depicted, merge into one continent. "A Europe-wide currency has to be neutral, the graphics can't be too specific. If I had opted for portraits of famous people or architectural monuments then one country was bound to be more strongly represented", he says.

Luc Luycx initials on the euro

Luycx also consciously included England, Denmark and Sweden in his design, though the three are holding on to their national currencies to start with. And with foresight, he even left some scope within his design to include prospective EU member states at a later stage. In this way if the need arises, a new series of euro coins could be rustled up within a few years. Based on plaster models, a precise matrix was drawn up for each of the new coins to be minted from. This pattern ensures that every single coin across the continent has an identical front. The coins also have milled edges to make it easier - especially for those with impaired sight - to recognise different values. Sophisticated bi-metal technology has been incorporated into the Euro 1 and Euro 2 coins which, together with lettering around the edge of the Euro 2 coin will prevent counterfeiting.

Luc Luycx was pleased. "I think they've really turned out well, great! I wasn't expecting that. I'm very pleased with them." Naturally, Luycx was looking forward to January 1, 2002, when people Europe wide would be exchanging the coins - and his designs - as legal tender for the first time.