When I look at the current specimens of our national currency, I’m disappointed. The United States Dollar is a global reserve currency, and it’s design is disjointed. Looking at the difference between the various notes, there’s a hodgepodge of design features and colors. It borders on a national embarrassment.
The Treasury redesigns notes on a regular basis for currency protection and to counter fraud, but it currently has no plans to redesign the $1 note or the $2 note. As a result, we have a fragmented design and little prospect of that changing. Even the notes that it does redesign seem to lack a unified vision for what the US Dollar should look like.
I wouldn’t like to see anything as busy as the British pound, but something more measured like the Euro. I’d like to see a unified design that’s clean, balanced, proportional, minimal, and symmetric. Perhaps common elements arranged on a grid that could be easily substituted between note designs. The denomination goes in the same place, the base color is the same with accent colors differing by denomination, and so forth.
Many today will proclaim that cash is dead, or will be soon, but I disagree. Cash is anonymous, fast, safe, and universally accepted. Cash represents about 15% of all transactions in the United States and around a third of all payments globally.
Cash is here to stay, so let’s make it beautiful.