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In honor of this month's release of the United States' redesigned five dollar bill I have been scouring through the 191 currently circulating currencies of the 192 member states of the United Nations to find some of the most colorful, unique and dramatic bank notes.
The New Five
Photo from moneycenteral.msn.com
The redesigned $5 bill was unveiled on September 20, 2007, and was issued on March 13, 2008. Previously covered here on COLOURlovers, the redesign involves some very noticeable changes, mostly for security reasons, but also in an attempt to make the bill more friendly to the visually impaired.
The new five incorporates the use of micro printing of type to make it more difficult to copy. On the front, "FIVE DOLLARS" is written inside the left and right borders. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" is printed at the top of the shield. "USA" is between the columns of the shield and "USA FIVE" is printed on the edge of the most noticeable change, the giant purple "5".
Photo from moneycenteral.msn.com
The giant purple "5". Yes, well, it was added to help those who are visually impaired but it may just leave more of us wishing that we were. Not that I necessarily dislike it, mostly I'm not too concerned with what the money looks like since I'm not collecting it for its aesthetic qualities, but a more reasonable choice, or at least a more colorful choice, would have been just to make the whole thing purple and start color coding all of the bills, much like many, if not most, other countries do. Maybe the Government doesn't want to get too far away from our 'greenback'.
One Interesting thing about the new five is the use of the EURion constellation which many photocopiers will refuse to copy. This pattern, which is used for the series of little yellow "05"s, is used on many other currencies as well.
Other changes to the bill include the increased use of water marks and an added security strip like those already used for higher denominations.
Compared to those previous drab gray and green bills the US has made some colorful changes to the currency, but it is still nothing compared to the beautifully crafted and colored currencies of Venezuela, Switzerland, and Kyrgyzstan.
The Bolívar Fuerte
The Bolívar Fuerte is the new currency of Venezuela since January 1, 2008. It replaced the old Bolívar which was the currency between 1879 and 2007. My personal favorite currency, it is a great example of the amazing bright and colorful notes that are seen throughout many South America countries.
The Bolívar Fuerte includes illustrations of Francisco de Miranda, Pedro Camejo, Cacique Guaicaipuro, Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi, Simón Rodríguez and Simón Bolívar, on the fronts. On the backsides, the notes feature Amazon river dolphins, a giant armadillo, an American Harpy eagle, the hawks bill turtle, a spectacled bear and the red siskin.
I've always been fascinated with the cover font color choices magazine editors make. We've begun to index those choices in our Magazine Color Trends section, but we thought we would look at some of the most iconic covers in history. In 2005, the 40 greatest magazine covers of the last 40 years were unveiled at the 2005 American Magazine Conference (AMC) in Puerto Rico, by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and AMC. Looking at the top 20 has shed some light on some of the most interesting color choices in the industry. Starting with number twenty, we'll take a trip back through the world of publication color.
#20 Blue (October 1997)
Armin Vit at Speak Up took an amazing look at the 25 movie posters of the top grossing movies of all time.
Not only did he organize the top 25 posters and break them down to simple palettes... He even created a larger image that showed the percentage of color usage for each film rating. Mr. Vit might just be our new best COLOURfriend.
Armin: "I looked for the final theatrical posters - as opposed to teaser or character-specific posters — which most fully represented what people saw on the streets or in movie theaters. Once lined up, I went over them one by one selecting a) the overall or background color, b) one or two of the most visible colors, and c) one or two accent colors. Ignoring any minimum-impact colors along the way. After picking out the colors, I arranged them, via gradients, on a horizontal bar, using the background color as the base and then eyeballing the "amount" of the rest of the colors to create an approximation of the colors you would see if you squinted at the poster or if you had really blurry vision."