Don Moore

New Concept Designs For US Bills Would Make Uncle Pennybags Proud

In Design, Money on August 28, 2010 at 6:28 PM

US Federal Reserve Notes are tried and true workhouses of the US economy. But they’re old. Really old. And they’re showing their age. While other first world countries have modernized their notes, US dollar bills have had the same basics design, size, and shape since the 1920’s, back when they were still backed up by gold.. Recent updates, like adding watermarks, larger faces, and color, are stop gaps, but a complete redesign is needed  to truly bring the dollar into the 21st century.

Enter Dowling Duncan. The British design firm designed a whole new set of Federal Reserve Notes as concept art. In addition to looking great (in our not so humble opinion), the new notes introduce a large lists of innovations. Some of the features:

  • Color: Monopoly jokes aside, a different color for each denomination makes it a lot easier to tell different bills apart. Besides, they just look coolr than the old greenbacks.
  • Vertical orientation: Recognizing that most people hold dollars vertically, and most machines take dollars vertically (not to mention most papers of any sort are vertically aligned), Dowling Duncan decided to make their bills in portrait orientation.
  • New imagery: Washington’s replaced with Obama on the 1 dollar bill, but besides that, US presidents, and people of any kind, are gone. In their place are abstract themes that somehow play an integral part in US history, including the Bill of Rights and the first 100 days of FDR’s administration.

The bills are just for a contest, and unlikely to ever replace the current bills in use, but it is a cool exercise in concept art nonetheless. To me, the choice between what we have now and these are pretty clear. Which one you prefer: This…

or this:

Thought so.

See all of the new designs at


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