Starling Bank is working to upend the payments card, flipping the card to a vertical axis and doing away with embossed numbering in an effort to more accurately reflect the way people interact with plastic at ATMs and checkout counters.
Starling's art director Mark Day says the redesigned debit cards are more like an extension of the startup's banking app, streamlined and stripped back with all the card details printed on the back rather than embossed on the front.
"Design usually evolves to solve something or to meet new needs, and bank cards don’t look the way they do by accident," he says. "They were designed landscape because of the way old card machines worked, and they’re embossed with raised numbers so they could be printed onto a sales voucher. But we don’t use those machines anymore, so when you think about it, a landscape card is just a solution to a ‘problem’ that no longer exists."
In the end, he says the team couldn’t find a reason good enough to carry on using a design based on antiquated needs.
"From how you slot your card into an ATM or a card machine to how you tap it for contactless, our lives are largely lived in portrait now, even down to how we use our phones. A portrait bank card reflects how we actually use our cards today; it’s intuitive, instinctive, and in short: it’s just common sense."