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Dowling Duncan redesign the US bank notes
August 26, 2010 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Dowling Duncan redesign the US bank notes.

Transatlantic design agency Dowling Duncan's submission to the Dollar Rede$ign Project (previously) features vertically oriented variable-length notes, with images related to the values. (via)
posted by domnit (179 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes, I can see the electorate going for this. Well, if you limited it to the eagle and had the "Bill of Rights" one only contain the 2nd Amendment, that is.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


The designs are fascinating. Introducing bills of varying lengths, however, does bring in an added cost; cash registers are designed for a certain size, and would have to be rebuilt. It would be far more practical to keep the existing dimensions.
posted by grizzled at 8:13 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Australian money more than anything.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:14 AM on August 26, 2010


Putting a sitting president on money is like getting a tattoo of a band that released one album last year.
posted by theodolite at 8:14 AM on August 26, 2010 [32 favorites]


I really like the Bill of Rights one. GO GO CONSTITUTION POWER!
But they're kind of ugly, I hate the verticallity, and I think it would be better if the bills were sized differently by width rather than length. And can we get some women on there?
posted by phunniemee at 8:14 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is it just me, or does the Obama $1 bill look like a Blue Note album cover?
posted by middleclasstool at 8:15 AM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


How can we put Obama on the dollar if he wasn't even BORN IN THE U.S.A.???
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:15 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I kind of like it, but the whole motif behind the deigns seems to be slanted pretty far to the left. I personally think it would go over a little better with the American public as a whole if you had a few more dead white dudes.

That being said, Andrew Jackson can get the fuck off my money.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:16 AM on August 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


These make me think of what US currency will look like if/when the Tea Party secedes as its own country.
posted by telegraph at 8:16 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well something needs to change to make them more accessible to the visually impaired. If the dimensions don't vary then other possibilities include textures (including, at the extreme, a pattern of holes) or making the current size the largest bill and going down from there, although that might not be practical either.

One way to think about the true cost of a redesign is this: yes, a redesign means a lot of expense retooling cash registers, vending machines, etc, but on the other hand a complete redesign means an opportunity to include much more effective anti-counterfeiting measures. Presumably there's a sweet spot where the redesign effectively pays for itself or at least substantially offsets the cost.
posted by jedicus at 8:17 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, I get to be the first one to comment on how the Native American design smacks of "cultural appropriation, see also: too little too late!" Also, is ugly. (I have the same beef with the "teepee" pages in my Passport. Yeargh.)

Though I like the "women" idea... though I'll admit in my head the first thing I thought of was not Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Harriet Beecher Stowe or even Eleanor Roosevelt but rather "ZOMG! CURRENCY CENTERFOLDS!"
posted by sonika at 8:17 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Needs more Masonic arcana.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2010 [21 favorites]


features vertically oriented variable-length notes

WALLET FAIL
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2010


There's some kind of really weird cultural non-understanding at work in these British designs' idea of Americanness — between the dishwater-dull schoolbook factoids used for design filler and the stale Helvetica, all the attempts at a "fresh" look here are just reinventing the design of US National Park Service signage, which Americans are already conditioned to ignore. Terrible.
posted by RogerB at 8:20 AM on August 26, 2010 [25 favorites]


It's iMoney, as if designed by Apple to look neat on iPhones. Bah. Get off my loan.
posted by chavenet at 8:20 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


grizzled: as long as the longest bill wasn't longer or wider than the current Treasury note, existing drawers can work with different-sized bills. Additionally, people with vision impairment cannot differentiate between note sizes, which has been the focus of a lawsuit.
posted by theclaw at 8:21 AM on August 26, 2010


I'm a little irritated by the whole idea of putting politicians on our money. I mean, the whole idea is supposed to be Blah Blah By The People Of The People Blah Blah, so why are we all like 'But these particular guys are like superstars and way more important than The People!'

Personally I am all in favor of the redesigns that feature, rather than politicians, figures such as Twain, Thoreau, O'Keefe, Louis Armstrong, etc.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:23 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


There's some kind of really weird cultural non-understanding at work in these British designs' idea of Americanness — between the dishwater-dull schoolbook factoids used for design filler and the stale Helvetica, all the attempts at a "fresh" look here are just reinventing the design of US National Park Service signage, which Americans are already conditioned to ignore. Terrible.

Such as the 4th Amendment being called "Right of Search and Seizure." Whose right? Mine?, the government's? Can I just seize shit?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:23 AM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


..so why are we all like 'But these particular guys are like superstars and way more important than The People!'

*raises fist*

Personally I am all in favor of the redesigns that feature, rather than politicians, figures such as Twain, Thoreau, O'Keefe, Louis Armstrong, etc.

*lowers fist in confusion*
posted by DU at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I do like the idea of the bill of rights on there. I still say they should all have things like the periodic table, a list of all the US presidents, or labeled maps of the world. You know. Things Americans don't know.
posted by cmoj at 8:26 AM on August 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's all about the Roosevelts, baby.

Nah, doesn't have the same ring to it.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:27 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also I don't like the base color being a bright white. I think it would tend to show the smudges and grime of handling too easily. Do any major currencies use a bright white background?
posted by jedicus at 8:27 AM on August 26, 2010


Atrocious. This is not "simple". It's visually uninteresting and bland. Toothless.
posted by eeeeeez at 8:27 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


This might be a good design for the near term.
posted by chavenet at 8:27 AM on August 26, 2010


grizzled: as long as the longest bill wasn't longer or wider than the current Treasury note, existing drawers can work with different-sized bills.

This.
posted by briank at 8:28 AM on August 26, 2010


Get off my loan.

Cute.
posted by Pants! at 8:29 AM on August 26, 2010


These make me think of what US currency will look like if/when the Tea Party secedes as its own country.

They're on it.
posted by felix betachat at 8:32 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Presumably there's a sweet spot where the redesign effectively pays for itself or at least substantially offsets the cost.

A $1 coin to replace the bill might do exactly that.
posted by rocket88 at 8:33 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, hasn't the Treasury been compelled to redesign our currency to be more accessible to the visually-impaired? Of all the options, size seems to be the easiest.

Some of those dollar redesign philosophies are hilarious:
My intention? There has to be a full-colored US flag on every bank note, and there have to be faces of some of the latest idols on them. Let's stop looking backwards and focus on the future. This is the time where we live. I've chosen Steve Jobs, but why not Zuckerberg, Larry Page or Michael Jackson?
Hey, why not Tiger Woods?
On each denomination, rather than incorporating an image of a figure who is powerful, wealthy, famous, in control etc. I have honoured the people who live modestly in professions that are imperetive to the wellfare of each and every one of us.
Note that she chose 4 men to represent "the working class".
My idea is to bring the Dollar into the 21st century... I did not include the Federal Reserve system on the notes but rather I made them gold coin demand notes, meaning that they will actually be backed by gold. I think the reason why the Dollar is failing is mainly because it is simply being printed without discrection.
A return to the Gold Standard would revive our Currency. I did not make a one Dollar note but instead one Dollar gold coins with a certain amount of real gold in them would form the foundation of the currency.
Surely it's fresh, new 21st century ideas like these that will re-stimulate our economy!
posted by muddgirl at 8:33 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know those PhotoStamp customized stamps? That's what you need for money. The USPS in conjunction with the BEP could run a "Print your own money!" campaign. Every American with some crazy one-issue political agenda -- and that's, what, 90 percent of Americans? -- gets to put his or her own hero's face on the dollar and make other people accept it as legal tender.
posted by pracowity at 8:35 AM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


I believe there's a law in the US that living persons cannot appear on notes and coinage. Too much like royalty.
posted by spaltavian at 8:35 AM on August 26, 2010


Can't we just implant an RFID chip in our wrists and call it a day?
posted by incessant at 8:35 AM on August 26, 2010


Ack, these look like brochure covers. FAIL
posted by nj_subgenius at 8:38 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


very American with some crazy one-issue political agenda -- and that's, what, 90 percent of Americans? -- gets to put his or her own hero's face on the dollar and make other people accept it as legal tender.

Reminds me a lot of this in terms of "Great Ideas for Currency."
posted by sonika at 8:40 AM on August 26, 2010


*lowers fist in confusion*

I think cultural achievement and artistic inventiveness is far more emblematic of America and worth praising in individuals than the act of successfully getting people to vote for you. Celebrating politicians seems to run counter to the American spirit in a way that celebrating artists does not.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:40 AM on August 26, 2010


I'll admit in my head the first thing I thought of was not Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Harriet Beecher Stowe or even Eleanor Roosevelt but rather "ZOMG! CURRENCY CENTERFOLDS!"

I'll admit in my head the first thing I thinjo of when I read "ZOMG! CURRENCY CENTERFOLDS!" is Al Jaffee doing a redesign.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:40 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could use more comic sans.
posted by special-k at 8:41 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


These are actually worse than strips of paper with "Twenty" written on them in Comic Sans.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:41 AM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jinx.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:41 AM on August 26, 2010


They're pretty ugly - the colors are ill chosen and garish, the font is depressingly plain, actual photographs bore the snot out of me, and a white background for something that gets handled constantly is a non-starter. It reminds me of museum infographics more than useful iconic design.

Silver certificates, a form of cash issued by the government in the 19th century, were used to expose rural folks to modern trends in art, and familiarize them with the popular iconographies of the day. I'd rather some top-tier illustrators and graphic artists team up to have a crack at it.

Since this is going to be for everyone, not just the left-or-right-leaning, designs that appeal to Americans across the political spectrum would be preferable... I'd rather not see another president or monument on a bill.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:41 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


A $1 coin to replace the bill might do exactly that.

Why did the $1 coin never take off? Among other reasons, because it's expensive to transport, and a paper manufacturer pushed against it.
posted by swift at 8:42 AM on August 26, 2010


Hooray for making it easier for the blind!
posted by spec80 at 8:43 AM on August 26, 2010


How can we put Obama on the dollar if he wasn't even BORN IN THE U.S.A.???

Neither was Alexander Hamilton.

Yeah, I'm that guy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:43 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Paper currency should be mostly blank (save for the denomination and serial number type info) and be coated in plastic. People should then be encouraged to draw their own erasable designs on them.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:44 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's true as a few people have noted that it is a violation of American tradition to put a living person on currency (or postage stamps). It is much better to do so after people die, because then there is no suspicion that one is just currying favor, or being in some way coerced into flattering a powerful person. We are very familiar with the phenomenon of corrupt and dictatorial rulers 9in other countries) who build all sorts of monuments to themselves, put their faces everywhere, and so forth. It is very distasteful.

There is no doubt that as the first African-American President, Obama has a certain unique historical significance. Even if the significance is purely symbolic, it is still a huge milestone in the progress of American race relations - one which, in all honesty, I never expected to see in my own lifetime. Even so, we can wait until he is deceased before we give him this kind of memorial.
posted by grizzled at 8:46 AM on August 26, 2010


I believe that these would be easy to counterfeit: some of these don't have faces on them, and they lack the ultrafine lines that make them impossible to simply copy them in a copier. They also lack the star pattern, as well as watermarks and holograms. The paper is special and impregnated with threads, too.

There's a reason why nearly every kind of banknote uses outdated cursives and inserts random curved lines everywhere, to make matrices and stuff: that's very noticeable.

If you add in those anti-counterfeit measures, in addition to the stuff the Secret Service doesn't tell us about, I think the intended effect of the design(the simplicity, at least, with the security features and faces clogging everything up) would be gone.
posted by curuinor at 8:48 AM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have no special expertise on currency, by the way.
posted by curuinor at 8:49 AM on August 26, 2010


I thought cashiers put $50s and $100s underneath the drawer so length is not an issue if the $20s fit the standard slot and the rest are smaller.

But let's talk about coins. When will the US revamp the dime so it says "10 cents" and making it larger than the penny.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2010


I was a big fan of this redesign when it went around a few months ago.
posted by JimBennett at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


Let's bulldoze Penn Station!
posted by run"monty at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


As a non-American, I'm all in favour of you guys redesigning your money so the bills are distinguishable by colour as is done pretty much everywhere else I can think of. Getting rid of the $1 bill would also be a smart move.

But, any kind of buy-in from the average American, I think, would require these bills to be as a-political as possible. These, obviously, aren't.
posted by modernnomad at 8:54 AM on August 26, 2010


Let's bulldoze Penn Station!

Have to agree with this one, although American money is probably one of the most boring looking of all the world, it is very distinct and 'money' feeling.
posted by wcfields at 8:55 AM on August 26, 2010


Until it incorporates the EURion constellation and other anticounterfeiting measures, it's not even a fake new design for currency; it's just pure, simple wankery.

I mean, it's fun to come up with hip new designs for money, especially money that's as boring as US paper currency. But for God's sake, would it kill you to have the fucking self-discipline to at least design money instead of just a random oblong piece of design?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:56 AM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's true as a few people have noted that it is a violation of American tradition to put a living person on currency

It's actually an outright violation of federal law, if I'm recalling correctly. The Presidential Coin Act of 2005 states that no president shall have a coin of their image released until at least two years following their death*. In addition, while this doesn't apply directly to currency, President Reagan (ironically considering the worship for him by the right) signed a law that said the government cannot commemorate any federal memorials for a president until at least 25 years after their death.

* Which is actually my biggest nitpick of this design project anyway... if you're going ahead and completely redesigning American currency, why are you even proposing we still have a $1.00 bill?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:56 AM on August 26, 2010


TWinbrook8, the only practical way to make the dime larger than the penny would be to also change the size of the penny; it would be possible to issue new dime-sized pennies and new penny-sized dimes (although once again, we would run into the problem that visually impaired people who try to identify money based on feel would get confused - at least, unless all the old dimes and pennies were taken out of circulation, which would be a heroic undertaking). If we just made larger dimes, while they would not be mistaken for pennies, they could be mistaken for nickels.
posted by grizzled at 8:57 AM on August 26, 2010


When will the US revamp the dime so it says "10 cents" and making it larger than the penny.

The the penny says "one cent" and the nickel says "five cents" but the quarter says "quarter dollar" (while the dollar does NOT say "one hundred cents").

Meanwhile "dime" apparently means 1/10th of a dollar. So if anyone is out of step, it's the quarter.
posted by DU at 8:58 AM on August 26, 2010


Where's Reagan?
posted by LakesideOrion at 8:59 AM on August 26, 2010


Oh yeah, don't forget to add "In God We Trust" or else we will all get flooded with chain mail from our more conservative friends about how the treasury is encouraging godlessness.

Did anyone else get the spazz out chain email about the dollar coins, because some idiot failed to notice their favorite little catch phrase was engraved in the side of the coin?
posted by Badgermann at 9:00 AM on August 26, 2010


Best money actually made is the old 10 Deutschmark note with Gauss and the formula for the normal PDF, and a graph.

The best possible US money that could ever be made under any circumstances whatsoever would feature Elvis Motherfucking Presley. People would call it the king... as in "You want to do WHAT in my WHAT? That'll cost you an extra king, bub." Or, "a king, same as in town."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:01 AM on August 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


features vertically oriented variable-length notes

WALLET FAIL


Did you scroll down the page? Here's the wallet photo, displaying the numbers in the top right corner being visible out of the wallet.

Personally, I think these look more like attempts at making visually interesting text book covers than currency, but I may stuck in an older mentality (formal and detailed).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:02 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I believe that these would be easy to counterfeit: some of these don't have faces on them, and they lack the ultrafine lines that make them impossible to simply copy them in a copier.

This, as well as all the other points raised by curuinor is spot on: These designs look like bland posters rather than money because they lack the security features incorporated in banknote design.

Not everything is supposed to look clean and professional, there's a reason banknotes have all the fussy detail.

Best money actually made is the old 10 Deutschmark note with Gauss and the formula for the normal PDF, and a graph.

That, and the pound note with Sir Isaac Newton featured in the last scene of The Belly Of An Architect.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:04 AM on August 26, 2010


It's actually an outright violation of federal law, if I'm recalling correctly. The Presidential Coin Act of 2005 states that no president shall have a coin of their image released until at least two years following their death*

Hmm, then shouldn't all our currency have Ronald Reagan on it by now?
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:04 AM on August 26, 2010


These look like old paperback book covers to me. At first I thought they were done by the same pople who make faux-Penguin covers based on video games and such.
posted by synecdoche at 9:05 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Please stop saying "Reagan" in a thread about faces on money because you might give people ideas.
posted by DU at 9:06 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


i kind of love these, except of course for the native one, for the obv. cultural problems. i also get horribly confused that all yr notes are basically the same colour.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:07 AM on August 26, 2010


There may be issues with it that I'm not aware of, but having just from back from Mexico, their new plasticy waterproof money is pretty damn neat. No idea if it's hugely worse for the environment, but it was damn handy when I was snorkeling (and color coded).
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2010


What problem is this redesign going to solve?


I do like the idea of the bill of rights on there.

There's a reason why the the Pledge of Allegiance and not the Bill of Rights is drilled into the heads of American students.
posted by nomadicink at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


These make me think of what US currency will look like if/when the Tea Party secedes as its own country.

And what the exchange rate might be between USD and pelts.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hmm, then shouldn't all our currency have Ronald Reagan on it by now?

Reagan's will arrive in 2016.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2010


> Please stop saying "Reagan" in a thread about faces on money because you might give people ideas.

Ronnie is already in the pipeline (2016).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 AM on August 26, 2010


Heh.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 AM on August 26, 2010


I don't like these because, well, they just don't really look like money to me. They look like the covers of government information pamphlets or party political leaflets.

That said, it's long baffled me why the US doesn't make its different note denominations more distinct, both in terms of design and size.
posted by Decani at 9:12 AM on August 26, 2010


If I were redesigning the currency, I'd try to use images that would be representative what what you were most likely to buy with the bill. So, the dollar might have a bottle of soda and the $20 might have a steak dinner.

I'm not sure how exactly I'd depict a night of prostitution, booze, and gambling though. Maybe just a picture of the "Welcome To Las Vegas" sign...
posted by quin at 9:12 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a non-American, I'm all in favour of you guys redesigning your money so the bills are distinguishable by colour as is done pretty much everywhere else I can think of. Getting rid of the $1 bill would also be a smart move.

But, any kind of buy-in from the average American, I think, would require these bills to be as a-political as possible. These, obviously, aren't.


Actually - speaking as another non-American - it's my understanding that the only way to get buy-in from average Americans is to not change anything about the money ever it was designed the way the Founding Fathers wanted it and it was good enough for John Wayne and Ronald Reagan and more coins is European communism, dammit, get your pinko ass back to Germania with that crazy talk.

This, at least, seems to be the message emerging from the 39 years of failed attempts to replace the American dollar bill with a coin.

True story: I was in NYC a couple years back and got about a dozen gold-tinted US dollar coins as change at a Metrocard vending machine. Every time I tried to use one as currency - every single time - the merchant stopped and examined and hemmed and hawed like I'd handed him a dubloon or a cowry shell or something. One bodega clerk tried to refuse it. I got the distinct impression I was the first person in all of New York to ever attempt to actually buy something with a dollar coin. I was ecstatic to finally be rid of the things.
posted by gompa at 9:13 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dollar bills won't go away until inflation gets to the point where strippers only start accepting fives.
posted by sciurus at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


They look too much like the modern designs European countries and Australia now have. There's something to be said for having staid, serious looking money.

As to the dollar coins, the only time I've really ever had to use them was at the parking garage back in college. Outside of that, people probably would look at you as a weirdo if you tried to use one.
posted by reenum at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2010


I found it particularly interesting that Dowling/Duncan thinks the 1st amendment is just about freedom of speech. Last time I looked, there were a few other clauses therein.
posted by willF at 9:16 AM on August 26, 2010


Where's Reagan?

Canada transitioned to the dollar coin when Reagan was still the president and Communism was still the enemy.

You may not want my advice, but you guys seriously need to get rid of the dollar bill. In the 90s it was quaint and nostalgic, but in 2010 it's just sad.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 9:17 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


> You may not want my advice, but you guys seriously need to get rid of the dollar bill. In the 90s it was quaint and nostalgic, but in 2010 it's just sad.

It's a social bulwark, you heathen.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is like the nitpickiest possible complaint (I have many others, but this is the first one that popped into my mind), but kind of going along with the point that

There's some kind of really weird cultural non-understanding at work in these British designs' idea of Americanness

I find it really irritating that the first amendment is listed as "freedom of speech", because that's just part of it. Press, assembly, religion and petition for redress of grievances are also really important and I don't like that they get left out.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:18 AM on August 26, 2010


P.S. The Roosevelts would make me not want to become a baller, shot caller, or brawler. Only the Benjamins bring that out in me.
posted by reenum at 9:19 AM on August 26, 2010


Putting Obama on currency would be the best way to ensure Tea Partiers burned their money. I can't tell if that's a good or bad thing.

"...and on cold, clear nights the Southeastern dollar fires would light the sky as far North as Pittsburgh."
posted by Turkey Glue at 9:24 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


there is talk in canada of having a five dollar coin, that idea excites me. i love thinking, hey i only have change, and then its like 20 bucks!
posted by PinkMoose at 9:27 AM on August 26, 2010


You may not want my advice, but you guys seriously need to get rid of the dollar bill.

Why? What point would it serve to to do that, what practical problem would be solved or alleviated by doing that?
posted by nomadicink at 9:31 AM on August 26, 2010


Money never looked so... infographic-y.

Turkey has variable-width notes though, so the idea isn't totally radical.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:32 AM on August 26, 2010


I fixed that for you! Brought to you by earth's greatest hero.

This is America son!
posted by Theloupgarou at 9:33 AM on August 26, 2010


Every American with some crazy one-issue political agenda -- and that's, what, 90 percent of Americans? -- gets to put his or her own hero's face on the dollar and make other people accept it as legal tender.

The best part? You could charge $1.50 per bill to print it. Deficit solved!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:39 AM on August 26, 2010


Mrs. Pterodactyl's problem with the description of the First Amendment extends to most of the other more complicated amendments as well. Someone already mentioned that the terse explanation of the 4th is pretty confusing. The 5th doesn't only apply to prosecution, but also to civil suits in some cases (I would point to due process, if I had to pick out a short phrase from the 5th). The 6th also incoporates the right to counsel, which is fairly important and worth mentioning. The 7th is fine. The 8th is much more popularly known for its "cruel and unusual punishment" clause than the excessive bail clause. And the 9th, while it does lay out a "rule of construction" is really about devolution of rights to the people.

All in all, that could have been done better with a few minutes on Wikipedia.
posted by Inkoate at 9:40 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


What point would it serve to to do that, what practical problem would be solved or alleviated by doing that?

Dollar bills wear out quickly and cost a lot to manufacture relative to their value. Coins last for decades, so even though they are slightly more expensive to make, over the long term the treasury saves billions.

As an aside, the dollar coin is quite popular in Ecuador, where the US dollar is official currency.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2010


Of all the designs, I like Dylan Smith's the best.
posted by Kabanos at 9:47 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You may not want my advice, but you guys seriously need to get rid of the dollar bill.

Why? What point would it serve to to do that, what practical problem would be solved or alleviated by doing that?


For starters:
Savings to the government in production and processing costs from substituting the more durable dollar coin for the Federal Reserve dollar note would be on the order of $150 million per year when the change is completed.
More details on other savings here. Why do you think every other industrialized nation on earth has been steadily eliminating low-denomination bills? Paperphobia?
posted by gompa at 9:47 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


nomadicink: "You may not want my advice, but you guys seriously need to get rid of the dollar bill.

Why? What point would it serve to to do that, what practical problem would be solved or alleviated by doing that?
"

Right, like infinitewindow wrote,
The advantages of switching to a $1 coin are obvious and substantial. According to an April 7, 2000 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, replacing the $1 bill with a coin would save taxpayers $522.2 million per year. Most of the cost savings associated with coins comes from their comparative durability. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces approximately 3.4 billion $1 bills each year. Each bill costs 4.2 cents to manufacture, and has a lifespan of approximately 21 months. By comparison, the $1 coin costs slightly more to produce – 12-20 cents – but has a lifespan of around 30 years.

Other benefits include savings on processing. Coins cost 30 cents per thousand pieces to process compared to 75 cents per thousand for $1 notes. Coins are also much more difficult to counterfeit. (Source)
posted by Perplexity at 9:48 AM on August 26, 2010


Political picture choices aside, I can't get behind a currency redesign that looks more like museum passes than it does money.
posted by Spatch at 9:52 AM on August 26, 2010


Turkey has variable-width notes though, so the idea isn't totally radical.

Most countries have variable size notes actually, for example the euro notes are all different sizes ( and colors ).
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:56 AM on August 26, 2010


I love the green money, and of all of them, JimBennett's was only the most palatable because it at least somewhat resembled the notes we have now. For whatever reasons, I don't like too much color on my money.

As for the dollar coin, its more of a pain in the neck for the user than the dollar bill. I don't want to start having to worry about change and having it rattling around in my pocket. Coins are heavy, clunky and awkward, its another thing to worry about, and frankly, the cost over 30 years doesn't worry me that much.
posted by Carillon at 9:56 AM on August 26, 2010


I hate the idea of a dollar coin. Bills are light and compact and quiet and fit in my wallet. Coins jangle around and weigh down my pants. There's a reason that I have four big jars on my dresser full of coins, one for each type; I hate carrying them around.
posted by octothorpe at 9:58 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fellow countrymen: Don't listen to all this Euro/Canadian palaver about switching over to $1 coins. It's obviously part of an elaborate world-wide socialist plot to feminize the Red-blooded American Male by forcing him to carry around a change purse.

Dollar Bills, not Dollar Jills!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:04 AM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why are we redesigning the faces or materials when we should be redesigning the denominations? In cents, we have a 1, 5, 10, 25, rare-50 and then 100, 500, 1000, 2000 and up.

We should really have a 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc. All coins. The 128 cent would be the "dollar". This kind of over-represents the low denoms, though, so I'd eliminate everything below the 8 plus the 16.
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on August 26, 2010


I really dislike having to deal with loonies and toonies when I'm in Canada, so honestly I'd rather have the dollar bills and pay an extra dollar or two a year in taxes.

The savings issue is a canard. It's one of those little cheapnesses that doesn't really do anything about deficits and succeeds in annoying, and probably ends up being Pareto-inferior. Like making umpty million people sort their own recycling and garbage instead of paying a few people a decent wage to sort it at a central place, or eliminating Saturday mail, or limiting hours at the DMV.

Even if you add up all the possible little niggling savings measures you could possibly do, and put in dollar coins and shave hours off of national parks and put in an entrance fee for national museums and make civil servants sit in 82F offices and share phones and all that crap, you will still not have remotely come anywhere near the same planet of eliminating deficits. The whole point of crap annoying savings measures and OMG WE HAVE TO TIGHTEN OUR BELT is to distract from the obvious measures of raising taxes on the well-off and cutting defense spending. You cannot begin to address deficits without doing those things, and once you have done those things you've saved so much that you don't need to do the little piffling annoyances.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:19 AM on August 26, 2010 [14 favorites]


If I were redesigning the US currency, I would take a hint from Canada. Can't say what I'd do with all of the deniminations, but the 5-spot would sure as hell feature a bunch of kids playing little league baseball on the back.

The Canadian $5 bill has KIDS PLAYING HOCKEY on it. That is like the coolest monetary unit I have ever seen. We in the US need to lighten the hell up, ditch the Storied Greek-Inspired Architecture + Illuminati Symbols thing we have going on the backs of our cash, and put some real icons of our cultural mindset there - like kids. What country values youth and sports more than the US?

(Canada, apparently.)
posted by caution live frogs at 10:20 AM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


People pay for things with cash?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:22 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why did the $1 coin never take off?

Here's why: Fellow countrymen: Don't listen to all this Euro/Canadian palaver about switching over to $1 coins. It's obviously part of an elaborate world-wide socialist plot to feminize the Red-blooded American Male by forcing him to carry around a change purse.

In Canada, like everywhere else, we were forced to switch. The Mint started producing coins and stopped printing bills. If you needed a dollar, you had to use coins. The US Mint could do this tomorrow, if they had the will to handle the inevitable screaming. They don't, so they don't.
posted by bonehead at 10:22 AM on August 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


The whole point of crap annoying savings measures and OMG WE HAVE TO TIGHTEN OUR BELT is to distract from the obvious measures of raising taxes on the well-off and cutting defense spending.

Exactly. Which is why I support the dollar coin for reasons other than cost savings. Like, good design. Something handled so much should be durable, which paper is not. And something so worthless should be smaller.
posted by DU at 10:22 AM on August 26, 2010


The only reason all previous attempts at a US $1 coin failed is because they went about it half-assed. Mint the coins and stop printing the bills. Instruct the banks to take old bills out of circulation and only give out the coins. People will accept anything if you don't give them the choice.
Then do the same thing with the metric system.
posted by rocket88 at 10:23 AM on August 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


The thing I most hate about single dollar bills whenever I visit the US is that half the time they're in such poor condition they can't be used in some of the most obvious ways, like in a vending machine for transit tickets or bottles of water. Infuriating. I also end up with this grubby lump of crumpled bills in my pocket at all times instead of just having change that I can feel there. Finally, I hate pulling a wad of said crumpled bills and not quickly being able to tell exactly how much money I have just by glancing briefly at it.

The savings issue is just a bonus as far as I'm concerned -- the usability issue is a much stronger incentive.
posted by modernnomad at 10:23 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of the cover of the instructions for the 1040 forms.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:25 AM on August 26, 2010


The Canadian $5 bill has KIDS PLAYING HOCKEY on it.

More importantly than that, it has the line from The Hockey Sweater on it: "The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church and the skating rink - but our real life was on the skating rink." (NFB vid, reading by Roch Carrier on the CBC). If you look closely, one of those kids is wearing a 9---Maurice Richard---the object of the boy's obsession.
posted by bonehead at 10:30 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I kept my opinion out of the FPP, but I'll throw it in now. I definitely don't think the US should adopt these, and the Obama one could as well be George Washington, president #1. To me these are like a concept car, prototyping new features. Borrowing the varying sizes from other currency is obviously a good thing, and I like that the width is all the same. I prefer traditional green with a color highlight, like on the current designs, to this. The vertical orientation is interesting and novel (to me, anyway). I like the idea of associating a subject with the value of the note. I dislike the text, especially the awkwardly summarized Bill of Rights.
posted by domnit at 10:30 AM on August 26, 2010


The trend of designing things that are supposed to be used more than once, handled, shipped or touched in any way with so much white space annoys me. Sure the bills look bright, crisp and fresh in the concept pictures, but as soon as they actually get into circulation, they'll look like crap.
posted by elvissa at 10:31 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, data point here for all y'all dollar coin haters.

I have a Sacajawea gold dollar in my pocket. Mint date is 2000. This dollar has been in my pocket for 10 years now, every damn day. It started as a joke - the coin was supposed to handle up to "30 years simulated pocket wear" according to the Treasury site - so I decided to do a real-world field-test to compare with their simulation. The coin has become kind of a stupid lucky charm for me or something by now, simply because I have carried it for so long.

It isn't that annoying. It's easy to tell it from a quarter, visually or by feel - in 10 years I have only ONCE mistaken it for a quarter and threw it in a tip jar by mistake (I traded the barista a paper dollar for my Sacajawea, and was a little embarrassed to realize that although there were several in the jar I could immediately recognize "my" dollar by the wear pattern).

When in Canada I have happily carried loonies and toonies along with the paper. No problems. When in Europe I had no issues with either the old peseta coins in Spain* in the 90s or the Euro coins in France almost two decades later. In all three countries I couldn't help but think that there was no point to the $1 bill at all. We hang onto it for the same reason we cling to the statute system of weights and balances - moving to modernize makes TOO MUCH SENSE for us, and by God there's no person out there who can FORCE the UNITED STATES into making sense!

*OK, so the incredibly tiny (14 mm diameter) aluminum 1 peseta coins were a bit of a hassle. Too damn small! My friends in Spain insisted they were intentionally designed like that so that people would lose them easily.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you don't like coins, the other option would be to go to plastic, like Australia or the Netherlands did (Holland, pre-euro, had fantasic notes). apparently Canada is doing this next year too.

From experience, a plastic note that goes through the laundry just comes out cleaner, as opposed to looking like something you found under the fridge. They're really tough.
posted by bonehead at 10:40 AM on August 26, 2010


1. I think they should put Reagan on some denomination. (Maybe he could replace superdouche Andrew Jackson?) The one condition being that the image used must be a still from the film Bedtime for Bonzo in which Bonzo also features prominently.

2. These designs are shit, and I'll tell you why: They're too big. (They're dollars, not pound, ffs.) They're too simple. (Counterfeiting is a thing.) They're too trendy and modern. (Check back in 15 years and see if they still look fresh.) They're all printed on white paper. (It comes in colours now!) As stamps, they'd be really great. As money, bah.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:41 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


More details on other savings here.

Oh cool, thanks for the information, didn't realize the cost savings.
posted by nomadicink at 10:43 AM on August 26, 2010


The only reason all previous attempts at a US $1 coin failed is because they went about it half-assed. Mint the coins and stop printing the bills.

The fact that when given a choice, people in the US overwhelming choose dollar bills over dollar coins argues strongly against the US adopting dollar coins, since the two are morally equivalent.

When in Canada I have happily carried loonies and toonies along with the paper.

When in Canada I have grudgingly carried loonies and toonies along with the paper, and been constantly annoyed at how quickly my pockets fill with change and that I have to think about this change because it's real money instead of being inconsequential.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I definitely don't think the US should adopt these

Is there any reason to expect that we will? This is a glorified blog contest.

You can track currency changes at the official source.
posted by muddgirl at 10:49 AM on August 26, 2010


The fact that when given a choice, people in the US overwhelming choose dollar bills over dollar coins argues strongly against the US adopting dollar coins, since the two are morally equivalent.

People complained about it for a couple of years here too. I was put off at first as well. They have become reasonably popular though, especially the twonie because it's so unique. The cost savings argument, done a time of some of the most extreme government cost-cutting in our history (federal spending dropped about 30%), was also pretty persuasive.
posted by bonehead at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2010


1. I think they should put Reagan on some denomination. (Maybe he could replace superdouche Andrew Jackson?) The one condition being that the image used must be a still from the film Bedtime for Bonzo in which Bonzo also features prominently.

If you put him on a high denomination ($50 or higher) and strongly encourage the use of "bonzos" as a sort of playfully derogatory nickname, this has real potential . . .

"Damn, I hate it when these machines give me bonzos! They're such a pain in the ass to change!"

"Hey brother, can you break a bonzo for me?"

(sign at register) "Sorry, due to the high incidence of forgery, we can't accept bonzos at this location."
posted by gompa at 10:54 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


When in Canada I have grudgingly carried loonies and toonies along with the paper, and been constantly annoyed at how quickly my pockets fill with change and that I have to think about this change because it's real money instead of being inconsequential.

These two issues tend to cancel each other out, eh? Loonies and toonies are pocket-fillers, yes, but they're, as you put it, "real money," and therrefore you can actually use them to buy things, thereby reducing the pocket weight.

Smaller change just accumulates because it's essentially worthless transaction garbage, like a receipt.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:54 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


My friends in Spain insisted they were intentionally designed like that so that people would lose them easily.

My friends in Spain used to get high and eat them.

The old 25pts coins were so close to the size and weight of NYC subway tokens, but never worked quite well enough. Not like those low-denomination baht coins did, at least. I mean, so I hear.

posted by elizardbits at 10:54 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ugh, I am not a fan. In a few years this will look really, really dated. The whole abuse-of-Helvetica thing, the excessive whitespace, the monochrome-in-color; it'll be the avocado green of the early 21st century.

However: I do really like the idea of having the current President on the lowest-denomination of currency. It would probably be hugely impractical (you'd have to create new dies between Election and Inauguration), but there's something kind of interesting and Roman about it. Dollar bills go out of circulation fairly quickly, but every once in a while you get a really old one that somebody's kept under the mattress ... I just think it would be fun. Most of the time you'd be paying with Bushies or Obamas, and here and there you might get a Clinton or Old Bush, but once in a while you'd get a Ford or a Reagan that somebody had stuffed in a sock drawer. I wouldn't want it on coinage, because that takes too long to go away, but on low-denomination bills it'd be interesting.

But there's a long tradition of only putting dead people on our money, so I don't see it happening. (Unless we start each President's new term by having the Chief Justice sacrifice the outgoing President as an offering to the Lobbyist God, then putting them on the currency. It would certainly spice up Inauguration.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:06 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Why? What point would it serve to to do that, what practical problem would be solved or alleviated by doing that?"

I can buy a Coke by dropping a coin in a machine, the way God intended it.

It's not like the switch to the dollar coin wasn't highly unpopular in Canada. All these arguments against the coin I made myself 20 years ago, and again when the $2 coin came around. The thing was, it only took a couple of years for people to forgot about the dollar bill. Not only does it save money, by the early 90s the idea of switching back became preposterous.

It's like the switch to metric. Highly unpopular to the people who actually have to make the transition. Highly popular to everyone who comes after the transition. You won't find anyone under 40 who doesn't appreciate that little bit of hardship the previous generation endured to make the switch to metric.

Do it for your kids.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:08 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm uncomfortable with the failings on display here being labelled or explained as a result of "British designs", considering the agency is, as per the FPP summary, "transatlantic". Unless anyone has evidence this came entirely from their England, and not their San Francisco, office?

I think the failings are just "poor design". That whole clean/Helvetica look is like Generic Graphic Designer Orthodoxy, Book 1, Chapter 1, Page 1. I honestly think at this point in time that style is suitable for signage on highways, rapid transit, museums, hospitals etc, where clarity is everything, but in any other context can only be taken as indicative of laziness or lack of imagination. For any other brief, even if the designer has a preference for this direction, they should surely incorporate some sense of the old, and the design context. Well, no, I suppose in many commercial cases it's good if designers feel free to break completely from all that, but for this kind of "public good"? Think about it, 100% of the population has to engage with this design, whether they want to or not. It's essentially compulsory and universal. Perhaps you can't please all of the people all of the time, but to please as many as possible, you pretty much need to reference what they know and expect. I'm not particularly familiar with US currency, but this is a long-winded way of agreeing they don't especially look like money, nevermind American money.

Since I haven't really added anything to the discussion beyond "me too", I'll throw in this semi-relevant link - 5 euro coin from a couple of years back as an example of (imo) fantastic currency (re)design.
posted by Slyfen at 11:10 AM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Highly unpopular to the people who actually have to make the transition. Highly popular to everyone who comes after the transition.

Doesn't that make it fairly pointless then? Is there any reason at all to think that coins are more popular with people who are used to coins than bills are with people who are used to bills?

I regularly end up with ten or twenty $1 bills. In any of the current dollar coins that's a lot of weight to lug around.
posted by enn at 11:11 AM on August 26, 2010


been constantly annoyed at how quickly my pockets fill with change

Like Sys Rq says, this is only a problem if you keep breaking new bills instead of spending the coins in your pocket. My grandma always comes up here from the States and ends up with loads of coins, because it apparently never occurs to her to spend them. It's not the coins' fault that your pockets fill up with them.
posted by Dr. Send at 11:12 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a note to all those people, such as enn, who are worried about having to carry heavy accumulations of large denomination coins. I live in Canada where we have not only large $1 coins, but even larger and heavier $2 coins. I have been using these for a number of years. I accumulate a certain quantity which I carry around in a change purse (not in a wallet) and I spend them. I seldom have more than about $6 in change. Whenever I want to buy something, I check to see if I have enough change to buy it with change, and if I do, I spend my change. This works perfectly well.
posted by grizzled at 11:15 AM on August 26, 2010


I'm an American who loves the gold coins- the change machine at the last place I worked spat 'em out, and it was so much better to feed three of those into the lunch machine as opposed to a crinkly bill or ten quarters. I've never had more than three or four of 'em jangling around in my pocket- if you don't want to carry a bunch, just trade up to a 5 or something.

Plus you get to feel like you're straight outta Greyhawk at the bar.
posted by maus at 11:16 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


So if Canada comes up with a $5 coin, are there already plans to call it a foonie?

Foonie money?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


also I want the Mint to start making some hefty ingots- pack of gum sized for $10, cell phone size for $20, deck of cards at $50... paper money is super-convenient, and I probably wouldn't practically change it out for an ingot system... but $100 feels so... light
posted by maus at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2010


Bring back the Greenback!

A legal tender note printed by the government for the people and not a private bank.

"The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but is the Government's greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest."
Honest Abe
posted by ogallalaknowhow at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2010


Oh, other countries telling America what to do is going to work out so well this time.
posted by nomadicink at 11:27 AM on August 26, 2010


BP, they floated that idea five years ago to a lukewarm reception. The current plan is to go to plastic bills like the Aussies.
posted by bonehead at 11:28 AM on August 26, 2010


Re: metric system, infrastructure costs factor big into this. There isn't much of my country that isn't covered with interstate and state highways, county roads and of course streets for local municipalities. Really only deserts and protected forests are sparsely paved, and this is one huge country. Changing every speed limit sign, every mile marker, every exit number, every "42 miles to Springfield" sign would cost an insane amount of money.

And while I wish we were metric, that money's better spent on updating our electrical and data grids and extending broadband service into rural areas, not to mention caring for the poor and needy or any one of a thousand more urgently needed projects. We get along just fine with inches and pounds.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:32 AM on August 26, 2010


I'm uncomfortable with the failings on display here being labelled or explained as a result of "British designs"

The blog post is written in British English, and the supposedly "educational" factoids on the notes are full of idiosyncratic mistakes about stuff that US schools teach by rote to every 10-year-old child. Also, if perhaps more contestably, IMO the "tipis and blankets" $5 note presents a genericized idea of Native Americanness (as a representative image of Americanness), and an insensitivity to the diversity of tribal identities, in a way I've honestly only ever seen coming from British and European people. Honestly, these designs just do not look that much like pictures of the ways Americans think about Americanness. Compare something like the (horrible) new Republican-kitsch US passports, which do manage to communicate a (banal, sentimentalized, propagandistic, but still) recognizably American vision of America.
posted by RogerB at 11:37 AM on August 26, 2010


Changing every speed limit sign, every mile marker, every exit number, every "42 miles to Springfield" sign would cost an insane amount of money.

But these are jobs.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2010


But these are jobs.

Yes, but jobs that generate more debt for the government, unless we raise taxes. Good luck with your political campaign, selling that one.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2010


Yes, but jobs that generate more debt for the government, unless we raise taxes. Good luck with your political campaign, selling that one.

Some well-respected economists have argued that hiring people to dig holes, then hiring other people to fill them in, is one of the most efficient uses of taxpayer money to stimulate the economy.

Surely installing new signage is marginally more useful than digging holes.
posted by muddgirl at 11:47 AM on August 26, 2010


It seems transparently obvious that almost any system of currency will work perfectly well for people who are used to it. You could abolish bills, and people would get used to it and find bills strange and annoying. You could abolish coins, and people would get used to that and find coins strange and annoying.

There's nothing wrong or right with US dollar coins. I just don't want them, because it would save the government a dollar by causing me more than a dollar's worth of annoyance. I'd rather just give them the dollar.

Then do the same thing with the metric system.

This is more or less impossible. You can easily mandate that all products have to be labeled with metric measurements, but to make the equivalent shift you'd have to make it illegal to also use the old units. Otherwise, stores will keep putting out signs that say $5/pound and nobody will shift. Even in fully metricated Canada, I commonly see grocery store signs with per-pound unit prices, or real estate ads listing acres rather than hectares.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:49 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks RogerB. I guess I was thinking more in terms of the 'Helvetica Orthodox Church' visual side of things, which I would suggest has nothing particularly British about it, and wasn't tuned in to the "content" side; I see more where you're coming from now. (Interesting that your passport link doesn't have a picture! ;))
posted by Slyfen at 11:50 AM on August 26, 2010


Surely installing new signage is marginally more useful than digging holes.

Oh sure, I agree. Like I said, I wish we would make the move. But it's IMO far less useful than modernizing our communications infrastructure or installing light rail systems or, for that matter, extending Medicare to every citizen. And all of those things would create jobs, too.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2010


muddgirl: My intention? There has to be a full-colored US flag on every bank note, and there have to be faces of some of the latest idols on them. Let's stop looking backwards and focus on the future. This is the time where we live. I've chosen Steve Jobs, but why not Zuckerberg, Larry Page or Michael Jackson?

I wonder if Apple Stores would let you buy an iPhone with cash no problem if Jobs's face was on it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:59 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Changing every speed limit sign, every mile marker, every exit number, every "42 miles to Springfield" sign would cost an insane amount of money

No it wouldn't.

First, there's no need to change the exit numbers. Some interstate exits are already numbered in km, some are numbered sequentially. Switching to metric wouldn't change that.

Second, road signs are being changed and replaced all the time. You'd be hard pressed to find many signs that are older than 10 years. When the federal 55 MPH speed limit was imposed, all the highway speed signs had to change. And when 55 MPH was revoked, the speed signs changed again. Many speed signs can also be repurposed. A "Speed Limit 50" sign works in metric, too; just add a "km/h" plate.

The rest of the distance and speed signs don't need to be replaced, only amended. Distance signs are the easiest to change. "Springfield 42" becomes "Springfield 67 km" with but a tiny little sticker or plate.

In Canada there aren't many road signs left from the 70s when the switch to metic happened, but you can still find them on old rural highways. Signs such as "School Bus Stop 1000 FT" with a "300 m" sticker pasted on top. 35 years later and the stickers are still there.

You could be switched over in a matter of months. Your kids would thank you.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 12:09 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


This all boils down to personal preference. I don't want to have to carry around a wallet and a change purse. Coins are annoying, and more easily lost track of. Most people find the guy who tries to pay in change at the grocery store in the US annoying, we don't want to encourage more of that!
posted by Carillon at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm an American who would prefer dollar coins IF they were universal. I never ever want or use them now, when they are rare, as they're annoying to use and receive. However when I was working in euros or GBPs, I loved using coins. I loved a pocketful of change actually being spendable. I say we should switch, and they should throw the 500 million in savings towards the metric conversion while we're at it. I want to drive 120 somethings an hour and not be about to die.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:17 PM on August 26, 2010


Most people find the guy who tries to pay in change at the grocery store in the US annoying...

...because your coins aren't worth much. On the other hand, giving someone a single coin for a pack of gum or a can of pop works pretty well. These things offset each other in the long run.
posted by bonehead at 12:17 PM on August 26, 2010


...because your coins aren't worth much.

My bag of Dark Chocolate Almond M&Ms says different!
posted by nomadicink at 12:27 PM on August 26, 2010


Where is the other side of each bill? Did they even consider that bills have two sides?
posted by oulipian at 12:27 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the size change, the vertical orientation, and differentiating colors. These features need to be implemented, regardless of what's actually pictured on the bills.

(I also like the mnemonic of the denomination being relevant to the design of that particular bill.)
posted by iamkimiam at 12:29 PM on August 26, 2010


...because your coins aren't worth much. On the other hand, giving someone a single coin for a pack of gum or a can of pop works pretty well. These things offset each other in the long run.

Ehh, it's also the fact that coins are smaller and more difficult to separate and keep separate. I can pay much faster in bills than coins just as a general rule. Wallet, organized bills > jumble of change, coin purse or no.
posted by Carillon at 12:33 PM on August 26, 2010


Second, road signs are being changed and replaced all the time.

This reminds me, when did they put up those .1 mile markers all along the interstates in the US? I just went on a cross-country road trip after several years of barely being in a car, and all of a sudden there were 10 times as many mile markers as I expected. That by itself had to have been a massive undertaking.
posted by Copronymus at 12:43 PM on August 26, 2010


It doesn't look anything like money to me, and I live in Canada, land of the monopoliest money.
posted by tehloki at 12:43 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm all in favour of you guys redesigning your money so the bills are distinguishable by colour

Already done.
posted by zsazsa at 12:52 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're too trendy and modern.

Ugh, I am not a fan. In a few years this will look really, really dated. The whole abuse-of-Helvetica thing, the excessive whitespace, the monochrome-in-color; it'll be the avocado green of the early 21st century.


This look isn't new, just poorly implemented here.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:02 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm all in favour of you guys redesigning your money so the bills are distinguishable by colour

Already done.

posted by Dr. Send at 1:04 PM on August 26, 2010


Auugh! That was supposed to be followed by, "As a colourblind person, I never would have noticed that those bills are different colours unless I got a hundred dollar bill."
posted by Dr. Send at 1:05 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Charles Manson
posted by umberto at 1:10 PM on August 26, 2010


If cost is the issue, wouldn't making a currency reader for blind people be cheaper?
posted by nomadicink at 1:12 PM on August 26, 2010


Subsidized money must be just around the corner. In the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment I expect to be able to buy a Royal with Cheese using dollars printed with scratch and sniff logos commemorating the Year of the Whopper.
posted by Babblesort at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


A currency reader that can process as fast as their own senses?

We're just finishing a huge money re-design period. I can't comprehend why accessibility issues weren't addressed 10 years ago when the re-design started, rather than waiting for a court injunction.
posted by muddgirl at 1:24 PM on August 26, 2010


Also, there's a ton of content on the future accessibility re-design here, including a breakdown of non-US currency.
posted by muddgirl at 1:28 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


A currency reader that can process as fast as their own senses?

Bar code scanners seem pretty fast.
posted by nomadicink at 1:40 PM on August 26, 2010


Bar code scanners seem pretty fast.

They only scan one item at once, and if they were hand-held, I am imagining a difficulty in manipulating the money and scanning it with the same hand. Do you suppose at some point it could be made small enough to fit into a wallet? I actually work with engineers who specialize in this sort of image processing and right now the processing cards are larger than an iPhone.

Plus, there is the problem of indicating the denomination to the user without announcing it to the entire world.

None of these are insurmoutable, of course, and I'm sure there are already solutions out there for visually-impaired people. But since the government is going to re-design the currency for updated security anyway, the only added cost in adding accessibility features is the cost of the design study (not to mention the cost of defending the lawsuit in the first place).
posted by muddgirl at 1:50 PM on August 26, 2010


Savings to the government in production and processing costs from substituting the more durable dollar coin for the Federal Reserve dollar note would be on the order of $150 million per year

Yes, we need to save this atom-sized drop in the world-ocean of the US budget. I hate coins, and the last thing I need is more.
posted by spaltavian at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2010


Interesting how bold single spot colors read as cheap because of their ties to things that are printed cheaply like brochures and schoolbooks.
posted by smackfu at 3:31 PM on August 26, 2010


Coins are evil. Please no dollar coins, thank you. They don't sit well in a wallet (not flat), they get lost easily, etc. I lose enough quarters, don't want to start losing dollars as well. Coins are basically lost money to me.

Of course I avoid cash whenever possible, but there are still plenty of cash-only places. Several parking garages I've been to recently in LA were all cash only (ugh).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:50 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "wagon wheel" $1 coins wore out pants pockets very quickly. Really weighty and impractical. The other $1 coins just never caught on. Has anything changed?
posted by Cranberry at 4:07 PM on August 26, 2010


How do so many people lose so many coins? Do your wallets not have coin segments? Or are you just carrying around money clips all the time?
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:51 PM on August 26, 2010


how about we just all agree to get rid of all coins below a quarter? then the 1 and 2 $ coins will fit right in with the quarter and .50 $ piece.

hehe, cunucks and their schmooney.
posted by real_paris at 5:08 PM on August 26, 2010


Do your wallets not have coin segments?

Nope. Card slots, and ID holder, and a bill pocket.
posted by smackfu at 5:17 PM on August 26, 2010


I've never seen a men's wallet with a coin segment. Anyway, I have too much to fit in my wallet as it is, there's no way that I could put coins in there and still be able to sit down. Again, bills are just a way more convenient form of money.
posted by octothorpe at 5:26 PM on August 26, 2010


If it's broke, don't just repackage it.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:33 PM on August 26, 2010


The Bill of Rights summary is awful. "Right of search and seizure"? That should be right against unreasonable search and seizure. "Excessive bail"? That should be right against excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

And where's all the guilloché? Those aren't just pretty repeated lines; they're an important security feature.
posted by limeonaire at 5:34 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm still firmly of the opinion that bills should have interesting, inspiring, informative things on them, which also scaled proportionate to the value of the bill. So a dollar bill would have something life-affirming and nice on it: "Things are going to be okay." The twenty dollar bill would be all: "See? It's all coming along nicely." And the hundred dollar bill would read: "Good work, now don't be a fucking asshole about it."
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:59 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


On the back you could have sudoku puzzles, or perhaps a funny little story.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:00 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


For when you're in the toilet and have nothing to read.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:00 PM on August 26, 2010


P.S. The Roosevelts would make me not want to become a baller, shot caller, or brawler. Only the Benjamins bring that out in me.

Ah, but what if it was the other Roosevelt?
posted by cthuljew at 10:57 PM on August 26, 2010


I want Roosevelt Franklin on all denominations.
posted by pracowity at 11:27 PM on August 26, 2010


To me, Oxenaar and Drupsteen remain the be all and end all of bank notes design.
posted by ponystyle at 5:19 AM on August 27, 2010


That and the $300 bill with Nixon.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:06 AM on August 27, 2010


I think we will find the echo of this Depression Chic found in the current Restoration Hardware catalog...

“Every act of creation is first of all
an act of destruction.”

Pablo Picasso, one of the world’s preeminent artists and influencers of the 20th century, repeatedly broke down stylistic conventions and was undaunted by the art world’s status quo. His irreverent spirit, captured in the quote above, was unfettered as he pursued his calling and followed his muse – great art that answered to no one, yet inspired everyone.

During the collapse of the global economy, we drew inspiration from Picasso’s words and chose not to listen to the conventional wisdom encouraging us to follow the pack and lower quality to reduce prices. Instead, we saw an opportunity to be liberated, abandoning our past to embrace the future, one that has redefined the essence of who we are. No longer mere “retailers” of home furnishings, we are now “curators” of the best historical design the world has to offer.

We’ve destroyed the previous iteration of ourselves, clearing the way to express our brand in a never-before-seen fashion.

Behold our Fall Collection. Introducing over 500 new pieces that are a personal expression of a lifestyle that respects the juxtaposition of form and function, past and present, and an environment that is both relaxed yet refined.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 5:53 AM on August 28, 2010


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