Dollar ReDe$ign Project

Sure, it’s true that I’m often perhaps too willing to disregard tradition and take things in a brand new direction without adequate regard for the past, but I for one am ready for a radical redesign of American currency.

I’m not extremely well-traveled, but I have been to Canada, Australia, and several countries in Europe — pre-Euro. So I’ve seen a reasonable assortment of international currency and ours is by far the stodgiest, most old-fashioned, and frankly, boring-as-hell. So much more could be done with our currency, in terms not only of creativity but of incorporating new high-tech means (or some not-so-new, since Australia’s been integrating clear plastic in its currency since at least when I visited there in 1995) of confounding counterfeiters.

Alas, the redesigns we’ve seen in the past 15 years or so have been conservative, timid, and way too reluctant to break with the past. But Richard Smith’s Dollar ReDe$ign Project hopes to change that… or at least to allow us to fantasize about a world where American currency is cool-looking.

I agree with Ministry of Type that the following designs, by Michael Tyznik, are among the best, and they’re something that I could actually see some country using on its currency. Too bad it probably won’t be ours. (Not that American presidents and landmarks would make sense on another country’s bills, but you get my point.)


Upon closer examination, I also like how the designer has eliminated the $1 bill, replaced it with a $200 denomination, and bumped each president (or statesman) up a notch (Washington on the $5, Lincoln on the $10, etc.)… with the exception of Benjamin Franklin, who, in deference to P. Diddy, must remain associated with the $100 bill.

Grant leapfrogs from the $50 to the $200. Wait… he’s on the $50 now, right? I don’t see a lot of currency these days, and rarely anything larger than what’s dispensed by an ATM. Oh, and I see Hamilton has been replaced by Jefferson for the new $20. A debatable decision, but at least it’s not Aaron Burr.

There’s also a nice civics lesson, in the form of the Bill of Rights, written on the backs of the notes.

What’s the smallest unit of currency you’d pick up from an undesirable location?

Yesterday, in the men’s room at my office, I noticed a penny on the floor directly under one of the urinals. I should note that, for some reason best left unexplained, there’s always a small puddle of something on the floor under the urinals. (Apparently someone has chronic bad aim.)

There was no chance in hell I was going to pick that penny up! But it got me thinking, what is the smallest unit of currency I would pick up from that location, assuming it required me to touch it with my bare hands? I pondered for a minute and decided with confidence that a five dollar bill would be the minimum value for which I would subject myself to the sub-urinal horrors.

What about you?