Kathy Sierra asks “Does the US suck at design?” beginning with a comparison of US and Swiss currency. I read the start of the post thinking she’d probably like NZ currency only to find, further on, she does as citing the nz$5 bill which features Hillary and a penguin! (That’s Sir Ed Hillary the mountaineer not the US Senator)
The similarity between US bank notes is one thing I find hard to adjust to arriving in the US after NZ’s technicolour multi-size notes. If any American readers would like a sample of our brilliant notes, send me a us$ bill and I’ll happily send you the New Zealand version of the same note. If you check the exchange rate you’ll find they are colourful, but not as valuable
Creating Passionate Users: Does the US suck at design?
And one more thing about what our bank notes say about our culture... with US bank notes, the emphasis is all on the Big Guys. Founding Fathers. Key (male?) figures from the past. People In Control.
And on the back, you get historical/political buildings that nobody but a history buff gives a crap about.
But take a look at the New Zealand five:
It celebrates two wonderful things about New Zealand. Sir Edmund Hillary is a citizen of the country. A citizen who did something deeply inspiring--the first Everest summit. And on the back side of Hillary, there's a penguin. Seeing penguins play, fight, socialize, and flirt is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (go to Oamaru, trust me), and New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to see wild penguins.