I followed a mention in some online journal, back at the end of June, to an online whatzis called The Dollar ReDe$ign Project. The man behind it is Richard Smith, a brand strategy consultant, whose work is showcased at ThinkCreateBelieve.com, whose company is The Extent Or Measure Of A Surface, and whose main blog is The Daily Blend.
He’s been interviewed all over, most recently on Fox, who pronounced it “the neweset internet craze.”
Richard’s deep motivation was to help restart the economy, and the means? Redesigning our money, and rebranding it, to shift our thinking and to help the little bits of paper in our pockets act as a sort of social catalyst for change. He set up the project in the form of a contest, and received dozens of truly wonderful designs.
Kyle Thompson won the contest with this design, who wrote ““I sought inspiration in numerous areas of American culture and history, and eventually decided to focus on the philosophers and political thinkers (i.e. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, among others) who inspired the Founding Fathers. I chose this for several reasons, the most important being that I feel that a new system of US currency should be hopeful and positive, while simultaneously reminding citizens and the world at large of the ideals on which the United States was originally founded.”
Runners-up included these:
- Istvan Banyai
- Nate Castiglione
- and Gabriel Eid
I had a chance to interview Richard last week, just after he had announced the winning five designs in the contest.
- Several of the designs — like those of Eid and Banyai — included bar codes, suggesting the interface between digital and physical money. But they didn’e write about that aspect in their submissions. It must have seemed just another design consideration to the designers, and they proceeded without an elaborate use-case analysis.
- Richard pointed out that paper money has become a convenience, not a necessity, at least for the banked and credited. (for the unbanked, paper money and other commodities, like cell minutes, remain more important than credit or debit.)
- Richard likened money as being like a business card, although one that you can exchange for goods.
- The old and now odd iconography of US money — the masonic symbols and so on — is antique if not out-of-whack with what we stand for now, and the design of the money — all one color, all one size — argue for at least a facelift. Richard suggest that redesigning it would have a transformative impact on the country, and “would give people hope”.
- We discussed the costs: revamping all the money scanners in metro stations, for example. But this is marginal relative to the value that he perceives could be realized. Richard pointed out that many countries in the Eurozone switched over, with equivalent costs. Richard suggests that these costs could be part of the stimulus package.
I hope that all those coming here and reading this will sign the petition, and support this project. To date, Obama’s administration has not paid much attention, but if enough of us keep howling about this, maybe they’ll think about it.
The Future Of Money series is sponsored in part by Neo.org