These Concept Notes Make Money So Beautiful

Illustration for article titled These Concept Notes Make Money So Beautiful

U.S. currency does change from time to time, but the basic design — green/black background, a portrait on one side, and a pretty picture on the other — has stayed boring for decades. These concept designs for currency, though, are anything but boring.

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Designer Barbara Bernát designed these notes for the Hungarian Euro as part of her MA project. The designs have a native animal on one side, and a local plant on the other, with the animal's position in the food chain increasing with the denomination — five bucks gets you a lowly lizard, while the hundred bags you a deer.

Illustration for article titled These Concept Notes Make Money So Beautiful
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The designs are completely clear of clutter, which makes them far more visually appealing, but probably less secure — Bernát says that she left the 'unnecessary' security graphic behind in a quest for simplicity. But one thing that has stayed is a UV ink, and rather than go for a gratuitous watermark, holding these notes under blacklight reveals the skeleton of the animal.

Bernát has the full details of her design project, from concept sketch to copper etchings, on her Behance page. After poring over the details, I can't help but think that the dollar is due an upgrade. [Behance]

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DISCUSSION

Boring is an asinine way of describing the look of US currency, if you look just a tiny be deeper you will find the right words and the right meaning. US currency is serious, it has substance and weight, its complex and filled with fine details, its a powerful visual statement which pushes everything else aside. It looks like nothing else we come into contact with each day, its special as it is. The idea of creating a currency that visually competes with the barrage of advertising we see on the internet, magazines and TV is shocking. No one can compete with the meaning of a US dollar at the cash register, hands down is simply does not look like an ad for mango's.