Thursday, November 7, 2013

Miscellaneous: The New $100 Bill--Design Disaster

I was deeply disappointed by the new design of the $100 bill when images of it first began appearing on the Internet, but I thought I'd keep an open mind before judging it. I figured the real article might show better than the representations of it I was seeing on my computer screen, but now that I've handled the new $100 bill, I still think it's a design disaster. What were they thinking?

This new design is a veritable definition of the term "half-baked." Rather than start from scratch and design a new bill incorporating cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting technologies in an elegant way, the people in charge have simply allowed half of the old bill to be overlaid with some of these technologies. The mismatch is glaring. It's embarrassing.

The left side of the front of the bill looks mostly like the old design. The right side of the front looks new, but even the right side suggests a badly thought-out collage. The contrast between the two sides of the front face is hard to reconcile, and the purplish hologram stripe that separates them looks like a strip of tape sticking together two halves that don't go together. The reverse is just as bad. A large, yellow "100" has been slapped onto the old design in an awkwardly large hole that's been carved more or less out of the existing layout. The whole thing looks amateurish--or worse. No attempt has been made to make the range of common denominations ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100) complement one another. Each ought to be part of a coordinated suite of bills with some kind of design harmony. Instead, the new $100 bill makes it look as if no one cared one way or the other what our currency looks like. I give the new $100 bill a big thumbs down.

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