Gavin is a designer, professor, and sustainability advocate. He lives and works in Brooklyn and teaches graphic design at Pratt Institute.
Plastic is the new currency. But, that hasn’t stopped the US Treasury Department from printing new $100 bills. Every bill except the $1 and $2 has been redesigned recently. Circulation of bills is lasting longer because were using them less, but the reality is 76% of printed American currency is the $100 bill. It just happens to be the #1 counterfeit US bill overseas. This makes the new design an important step forward in security and durability.
The $100 bill is actually the second most common bill in circulation, behind only the $1 bill. It’s slightly more common than the $20 bill. The revamped $100 bill costs just over 12 cents to produce. This is a large increase in cost for bills that were supposed to release in 2011. Printing errors, and a long list of issues has kept them at bay. Frankly, I’d hate to be the Art Director on press.
The new bills release today. And the new design measures are in place to make the bills more difficult to imitate. They include a significant change: a new blue, 3-D security ribbon. It also includes a color-shifting ink, that once tilted changes from copper to green. There is a new image of an ink well that’s also on the front. The hundred note still features Ben Franklin on the front and Independence Hall on the back. The illustrations have been recolored, and there’s some hidden text and images.