Utne Blogs > Politics

Redesigning the American Dollar

by Will Wlizlo


Tags: money, design, Politics, Dowling Duncan, Will Wlizlo,

dollarredesign

If the recession has taught us anything, it’s that, as Americans, we love our greenbacks. Maybe a simple redesign of our paper currency can have a dramatic effect on how we culturally use our money. Dowling Duncan, a design firm based in London and New York, recently proposed a complete rebranding of U.S. bank notes that challenges us to rethink our cash.

The bills look über-modern and vaguely European. You’ll first notice that the notes are laid out vertically, instead of horizontally. Dowling Duncan did their homework: “When we researched how notes are used we realized people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally. You tend to hold a wallet or purse vertically when searching for notes. The majority of people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically.” Further, Dowling Duncan’s proposed notes come in a rainbow of colors and are laden with history of American democracy.

But seriously, check out the thought-provoking bank notes. What's missing from Dowling Duncan's design?

(Thanks, Kottke.)

Image courtesy of Dowling | Duncan.

kevin wehman
9/10/2010 12:35:18 AM

Show me the $!!


matthew magnifico_2
9/8/2010 12:38:26 PM

First of all, just because a company submits a redesign of a bill doesn't mean that anyone is going to accept it. So all the money that the company wasted could have went towards something more meaningful. Second, of all, there are plenty of US dollar coins already and just get a metro card you can even use credit to pay for that. There ya go, credit, the real american way. Third of all, "In God We Trust" is one of the biggest hipocracies to ever be on American currency. "Seperation of religeon and state", does that ring a bell to anyone? Whether you belive in a deity or not, our forefathers fought for the separation of the two. Just in case you were wondering, the original currency didn't have "In God We Trust" on it. It wasn't until the mid 1860's that it was even put on our coins (Know Your History, Indeed). 4th, woman are featured on US currency already, including a suffragist. 5th just to throw a "jab" at the designers, do you realise how much infrastructure would need to be changed to accept a new bill?


vincent o'donnell
9/2/2010 6:44:22 PM

I've just spent a couple of weeks in DC after not having visited the USA for some years. Inflation has caught up with the currency. Rather than redesign the greenback, you could do with a dollar coin. I had to carry a huge amount of small change for the parking meters, and to buy tickets for the Metro and the Circulator.


julia jones
9/1/2010 7:43:40 PM

One more point to make here: Matthew Rothert, a well known numismatist, spent a lot of his time and money seeing to it that "In God We Trust" is on coins and bills alike. Our forefathers would be proud to know that bit of history, unlike your forefathers (as in King George) who believed they were God's gift to the world. A final jab at your designers: Where in the world are women? You have managed to honor all the males (all liberals of course) but no women? How about the suffragists who learned militance from your suffragettes? The Brits gave in and let women vote before the Americans did that for women.


julia jones
9/1/2010 7:34:10 PM

You Brits can design your own euros but please leave the American dollar alone! What a pack of jokers you think will pass for our monetary bills!


cj_4
9/1/2010 10:31:03 AM

"E pluribus unum", our national motto which means "out of many, one" is missing, as well as "In God We Trust". Another thing that is missing is some important US history, namely, some Presidents. Add some facts to the back of these and sell them as flash cards for school children, but keep the Presidents, the national motto, and trust in a God our forefathers trusted (if you're not a believer then feel free to count it as more history)JMHO


stephen_3
9/1/2010 7:43:31 AM

What's missing? E pluribus unum. Missing from our society and, if the new bills are accepted, missing from our money.