Friday, June 15, 2012

for the look of money

As I was searching for images to use in a project concerning my Pa (will blog about that project soon), I found an old $5 bill that I have collected from 1928. I always look it over closely any time I rediscover it. Old money just looks better. The dark ink. The classy layout. The simplicity. I spent about 15 minutes smiling at all the details and lettering (for the 30th time) before having the inclination to scan it in for this blog. In the location of this 5, I also had a Mercury dime that is round perfection (show ya that later!). I thought a side by side comparison with modern currency would show you where my mind was and maybe even some of you might agree.

We all know that counterfeiting concerns propel many of the design elements found on the larger denominations these days...but....come on! The modern currency just lacks power and dignity. Strength is pouring from that design surrounding President Lincoln. President Jackson has a typhoon of garbage about his head. A MESS!
The major factor for this lack of strength derived from this whirling layout is due to the positioning of the lettering. The 5 from 1928 has lettering centered on Lincoln. Though a much smaller scale than Jackson, Lincoln dominates the horizontal layout.

Though the upper font (SERIES OF 1928) looks and feels 90 years old, it neighbors nicely above the ageless look of WASHINGTON, D.C.

In most design, centering your major elements might result in diminished appeal. I say that in the case of these two designs, the tame decisions of 90+ years ago wins in a landslide. The above phrase "will pay to the bearer on demand" sure does help with the whole "cool" aspect as well.

The consistent use of fonts  also helps the 1928 bill convey a strong composition. It has unquestionable Unity. All the information is obviously necessary but nothing seems forced or crammed. It all has its place and the viewer is comfortable with seeing it there.

Love how the 5 is nestled into the design on the older bill.

This strange circle element (found on the back of the '28 bill) is very cool.

Every coin or bill that hits my hand is scanned for a date. It is a habit that began when I collected old pennies as a young boy. I loved finding wheat pennies at my Grandparents' home. I'd search every time I stayed over. I am still in love with the look of those stems of wheat curving up the outer edge of the old pennies. Finding them never gets old.....


  1. Real artistry back then -- even on money!

    1. it is as if the look has lost value to the pun intended....