Introduction

Money in general, and cash in particular is something that each of us uses every day. Even with the growing use of checks, ATMs, and credit cards, "hard cash" still plays an important role in our lives. Most people still carry with them green pieces of paper that can be exchanged for various goods and services. But wait... Have you ever noticed that those pieces of paper are all green, regardless of denomination? Have you ever given away a ten dollar bill, thinking that it was a one?

This is the problem that this project addresses. The United States bank notes of different denominations are so much alike that it is often hard to distinguish which bill is which. As we know from psychology, people can more easily identify objects that have some distinctive features. The bank notes, being of the same basic color, the same size, shape, and texture are not easily identifiable. Their present design is practically an invitation for an error. A person must pay close attention in order to determine the correct denomination of a note.

Another problem, that the conformity of bank notes creates, is the fact that such notes can more easily be forged. This lack of diversity of the design could be contributing to the fact that U.S. dollars is the most counterfeited currency in the world. Of course, there are various techniques that are used to prevent counterfeiting, but most of them make forged bills identifiable to the experts, but not to the average people.

The logical solution to this problem would be to make bills of different denominations different from one another. It does not seem practical to make the sizes different, simply because that would require a redesign of wallets and cash registers, but it would seem very practical to make the bills of distinct colors, or even textures. The latter will also be a great improvement for the blind people, who would be able to easily distinguish between the denominations. In this project we will research the history of the United States currency design, as well as that of other countries, in order to come up with a detailed solution to this problem.

Last modified: Sun Dec 8 12:17:43 EST 1996